Council tax will rise by 2.43 per cent in Epsom and Ewell, the borough council (EEBC) have announced after agreeing their 2021/22 budget.

Councillors agreed Tuesday evening (February 16) to the rise, which EEBC said represented a rise of 9.5 pence per week "for the average band D property".

Regarding how the council tax money would be spent, a council spokesperson said that EEBC itself would receive 10 per cent, Surrey Police 14 per cent, with the remaining 76 per cent going to Surrey County Council activities.

"The budget was set in the climate of ongoing increased expenditure as the council addresses the pandemic within the borough, including a significant rise in emergency temporary accommodation," the spokesperson said.

"The council has also seen a large decrease in commercial income (eg from parking and income from rents) due to COVID-1," they added.

The 2.43 per cent increase represents a smaller rise than many borough councils are likely to opt for.

With increases capped at 4.99 per cent, and most councils facing cuts to their funding from the government in recent years, other councils in the region such as Kingston have opted to for the largest possible increases to council tax to help them cover rising costs and expenditure.

Speaking at last night's budget meeting Councillor Eber Kington, who chairs the Strategy and Resources Committee, said he recognised the challenges faced by so many residents including "the lockdowns, the absence of physical contact with family and friends, the worries over employment, being furloughed, the closure of schools and the challenges of home schooling, and the toll on the mental health of so many".

"Using the ideas in the Councils Future 40 vision which were shaped by residents themselves, we will further develop our recovery plan, for the Council and the Borough as whole, to build back better so that, collectively and individually, we will be stronger and even better than before."

Referencing the new council tax rate, which for the lowest council tax band will be just 6 pence extra a week, Councillor Kington said:

"We are asking all our residents pay a few pence extra each week so that we can come through the pandemic in a stronger position whilst collectively protecting the very important services that support the most vulnerable members of our community".

Cllr Kington meanwhile pointed out there would be "no cuts to the services provided by the Borough Council".