THE AVERAGE tax bill will rise by £58 next year after the county council voted through its budget.

At a full meeting, Essex County Council approved a budget that will have the average Band D household pay £1,222.77 per year, a £58 or 4.99 per cent increase.

The Conservative led authority claims the rate hike will lead to £300 million of investment in roads, schools and new homes, helping Essex reach its “enormous untapped” economic potential.

Councillor David Finch, leader of the council, said: “The budget approved today means we can continue building the future our residents and business deserve.

“Economic growth will improve not only the living standards of people in Essex, but also their health and wellbeing, opportunities and life chances.

“We all know there is enormous untapped opportunity in our economy and an entrepreneurial spirit that is hard-wired into our DNA, which we must capitalise on in the future.”

Labour and Liberal Democrat councillors were not convinced however, voting against the budget over concerns it would not provide funding for adult social care and children's services.

Lib Dem councillor for Brentwood North Barry Aspinell said: "There's is not enough going into the budget for pothole repairs.

"You have said 'we repaired 5,000 potholes last year', but I guarantee you there's 5,000 more a few months later.

"If you are okay with your government with all their cuts being imposed on us, then I don't think you are doing your job properly as the leader of this council."

The main opposition group proposed unsuccessful amendments to the budget.

The Liberal Democrats called for a social care fund worth £2.5m to be created and Labour called for reviews of children's and adult services to assess the impact of recent cuts.