LABOUR councillors are expected to meet resistance tonight as they attempt to push through a 3.99 per cent council tax rise.

St Helens Council’s cabinet have already approved the increase, which is part of Labour’s proposed budget for 2020-21.

The one-year budget is expected to pass comfortably at tonight’s full council meeting thanks to Labour’s grip on the town hall.

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But Labour is expected to meet opposition to the proposed 3.99 per cent council tax increase, which includes a 2 per cent adult social care precept rise.

St Helens Conservatives leader Allan Jones told the Local Democracy Reporting Service his group will oppose the 1.99 per cent council tax hike but will support the social care precept rise given the demand on services.

Cllr Jones also confirmed the Conservatives will not be putting forward their own budget.

“What is the point in wasting officers’ time putting it forward when we know the Labour Party would reject whatever we put forward?” said Cllr Jones

“There is no point in doing that.”

St Helens Star: Cllr Allan Jones, leader of St Helens Conservative groupCllr Allan Jones, leader of St Helens Conservative group

Labour has taken the decision to increase council tax due to increasing demand on statutory services, particularly in adult and children’s services.

Council chiefs say the hike, which will raise £3 million for the authority, will mean around 85 per cent of households will pay around £1 extra a week.

St Helens Council leader David Baines has warned that if the council does not raise council tax then it will need to find an extra £3 million in cuts.

The council is already planning a series of fresh cuts to services due to a forecast £10 million budget gap for 2020-21.

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The council will use £5 million from one-off reserves to halve the budget gap –a move that has been described as “not sustainable” by the council leader.

This leaves £5 million to claw back mainly through service cuts and some from income generation.

Further details on some of the impending cuts are expected to be announced at tonight’s full council meeting.