Protesters with placards staged a peaceful demonstration outside Eastbourne Town Hall last night amid mounting anger over a huge council tax rise.

More than 20 people gathered outside the building in Grove Road ahead of a meeting of the borough council.

Some clasped placards saying 'No to 38 per cent' in protest at Eastbourne being hit with one of the country's steepest tax rises.

The House of Commons heard this week that Eastbourne had England's fourth highest rise, trailed only by Stratford upon Avon, Weymouth and West Oxfordshire.

Eastbourne Tory MP Nigel Waterson has forecast a council tax crisis as low-income households struggle with their payments.

Band D properties in the resort are being hit with four-figure bills for the first time ever, at £1,209.

Campaigner Ian Lucas said: "It was a peaceful protest from the people of Eastbourne, who are disgusted at a 38 per cent rise."

Members of the Lib Dem-run council have urged residents to direct their anger at Whitehall for forcing such a rise.

They say the government is to blame for handing down such a poor grant settlement to the county and borough, shifting funds to the north instead.