HIKING up council tax almost two per cent in Worcester would bring in £391,000 over the next five years and ease pressure on city council finances.

That’s the view of the authority’s Labour group, which has made a last-ditch attempt to get a planned freeze re-thought.

The Conservative leadership at the Guildhall want rates frozen to help hard-pressed households.

But Councillor Richard Boorn, Labour’s finance spokesman, said a rise would help protect services at future risk of the axe.

The authority has a budget shortfall of £250,000 in 2014-15 but a 1.99 per cent council tax increase would bring in around £391,000 by 2017/18.

Speaking during a meeting of the performance management and budget scrutiny committee, he said: “If we went down this road we would have covered the shortfall and would not have to look at cutting services.”

If it went up by that amount the average householder in a Band D property would pay just £3.23 a year more in April, because the city council only controls 11 per cent of the bill.

The Tory leadership is still backing a freeze, saying it is what “the majority of people in Worcester want.”

Councillor Simon Geraghty, the leader, says it would send out the wrong message to go cap-in-hand to the public to ask for more money.

The ruling Conservative cabinet will be discussing the 2013/14 budget in a meeting on Tuesday.

It will be finalised later this month following a vote at full council.