After the arrival of a new baby, many parents cherish the memory of heading to their local register office to get that all-important birth certificate.

Soon, however, this experience will be taking place in a very different setting as Essex County Council make the decision to relocate all registration services in Essex to “community hub” library buildings.

Cuts and the big community

Small meeting rooms in the county’s libraries will be used for the registration of births, marriages and deaths. Harlow Registry Office have also confirmed that from April 1 it will wedding ceremonies will no longer take place in its College Square building, indicating that other offices may make a similar move.

Councillor John Spence, who is responsible for finance at Essex County Council, said: “We are committed to fighting for a fair deal for Essex residents.

“The policies being made at a national level are laudable and understandable, but the collective impact of these, alongside cuts and a growing social care bill, means we face a budget pressure of £120million next year.

“We are calling on Government to look again at the impact and the needs of individual councils rather than simply redistributing funding to poorer performing areas of the country.”

Essex council tax rise

As well as looking to slash over £1 million in library spending over the next two years, the counsel are considering whether to implement the Government’s new Social Care Tax and raise counsel tax by nearly 4%.

In practise, this would mean an 84p total increase per household per week for families living in a Band D property.

Cllr Spence added: “As an efficient and effective authority we have to look at how we manage this impact, continue to protect our most vulnerable residents through key frontline services and deliver a balanced budget.

“These demands leave us with little option but to increase Council Tax; the first rise in five years.”