A former councillor says rural communities are being “hammered” by Braintree Council as residents have to pay more for public services.

Bernie Gaught, former councillor for Earls Colne between 2003 and 2007, says it is unfair residents living in Braintree and Bocking are not paying extra for some services.

Braintree Council has withdrawn its parish support grant meaning those living in parish communities such as Halstead, Earls Colne and Sible Hedingham are paying more for services maintained by parish and town councils.

Parish council precepts help to cover the cost of services such as the running of public car parks, toilets and street cleaning.

However, those living in the unparished areas of Braintree and Bocking are not charged extra as there is no precept.

Mr Gaught said: “The rural areas are getting absolutely hammered at the moment. The council has been taking services away and passing them onto parishes to deal with.

“The system needs to be looked at again now the grant has been withdrawn. It’s very much a political issue now and I think it needs to be equal for everyone.”

Mr Gaught, who spent several years as Braintree Council treasurer in the Nineties, estimates an extra £1 million would be raised if residents living in Braintree and Bocking paid a precept as part of their council tax.

A spokesman for Braintree Council said: “The money we receive from central government is reducing to nothing after 2018/19 and we will reduce the Localism Fund payments to parish and town councils over a three year period stopping after 2018/19.

“However we will continue to pay a proportion of the surplus on the council tax collection fund to councils.”