Uttlesford District Council (UDC) has proposed to ensure that its council tax contribution percentage for residents remains frozen at 12.5 per cent, the lowest of any authority in Essex.

The council said that freezing its contribution rate for 2024 and 2025 will continue to protect those of its residents on the lowest incomes by excluding £25 of an individual’s earned wages per week from council tax payment collections.

Castle Point council is the Essex authority with the highest contribution rate of 30 per cent, with other councils charging a minimum of 20 per cent.

The public consultation for the updated Local Council Tax Support Scheme (LCTSS) saw a 46 per cent increase in responses compared with 2022, with a number of respondents enquiring as to whether the council would be able to provide additional financial help to families on middle incomes.

However, UDC has maintained that the Exceptional Hardship Fund is largely reserved for the most vulnerable in the district, which includes those who are unemployed or living with acute disabilities or illness.


As a remedy for eligible families on middle incomes, the council has set up a one-year ‘Cost of Living Support Fund’ for 2023 and 2024 for those impacted by utility bill increases and inflation, as well as employing two dedicated officers who provide support such as early intervention and debt management advice.

Commenting on the proposal, Councillor Neil Reeve (Residents for Uttlesford, Broad Oak and the Hallingburys) said: "(Freezing the contribution rate) is definitely the way to go… I’ve been persuaded that the reasons for staying where we are are good ones.

"If I had a concern, it would be advertising (schemes such as the Exceptional Hardship Fund) so the people who really need it know it is available."

The scheme is forecast for a net cost to UDC of £315,335 in 2023/24.