A MAXIMUM council tax increase of nearly five per cent looks set to be rubber-stamped by Halton councillors next week.

The move would see the average bill rise by £79.62 a year to £1,675.29 for a Band D property. The rise is the maximum allowed under new government legislation without triggering a local referendum. It includes a basic Council Tax rise of 2.99 per cent, with an additional two per cent for social care.

An additional charge applied by Cheshire Police for funding its services - known as a precept - will also be going up by £15 to £250.44, while Cheshire Fire and Rescue’s will rise by £5 to £87.48 a year.

The mayoral precept charged by the Liverpool City Region will not be going up and remains £19.

Once combined, it will see the average Council Tax for a Band D in Halton rise by a total of £99.62 to £2.032.21 a year.

Residents of certain parishes in the borough will also pay additional precepts to fund their parish councils and some local services. These are: Hale (£55.39), Daresbury (£43.04), Moore (£18.23), Preston Brook (£88.94), Halebank (£75.02) and Sandymoor (£29.09).

A meeting of Full Council takes place next Wednesday at Runcorn Town Hall where members are recommended to approved the new charges, which will contribute to Halton having a total annual budget of £140.880m.

The council will also be asked to back a plan to charge an additional 100 per cent premium on second homes, meaning owners of empty but substantially furnished properties in the borough will essentially pay double council tax on it.

A report to the council said: “It is expected that Halton’s total council tax will continue to be amongst the lowest in the North West.

“Given that nearly half of all properties in the borough are in Band A, and 82 per cent of properties are in Bands A-C, most households will pay less than the headline figure.

"In addition, many households will receive reduced Council Tax bills through discounts, and these adjustments will be shown on their bills.”