A PARISH council in Worcester is hoping to raise its part of the council tax bill by 16 per cent.

Warndon Parish Council had agreed a four per cent budget increase, but has upped its proposal fearing the Government could impose a cap on parish councils next year.

An increase of 16 per cent would mean an average rise of £2.50 a year for each household.

Chairman Ray Morris said a recent request in the parish newsletter for residents to say whether or not they were in favour of raising the precept had attracted an agreeable response.

But the decision to re-open the item, which was not on the agenda for last Monday’s meeting, sparked a fierce debate among councillors, with both vice-chairman Marc Bayliss and councillor Dave Long against it.

Coun Bayliss said it was “the wrong decision at the wrong time”. Coun Long said: “The concern I have is the statement of legality of what’s been said here.

“Because four per cent was said and was minuted, I don’t think it matters what is said tonight, that’s what is to be carried forward.”

But Coun Ted Holloway said: “If you don’t do this, we wouldn’t have any money in the bank at all.

“People have been asked and said ‘do what you have to do’. By your behaviour, you’re letting the residents of Warndon Villages down.”

In a motion, passed by four votes to two, the council voted to hold a public meeting to discuss the budget.

Speaking after the meeting Coun Bayliss said: “My view is that we only need to raise it by a minimum of four per cent. That’s what we agreed last month.

“Nothing has changed over the last 30 days that means we need to raise it by 16 per cent.

“We shouldn’t be doing it through the back door if the council believes this is the right thing to do.

“They are doing it for the best of intentions, if they raise more money the more they can do with it.

“My objection is that times are difficult and no council should be levying more than they need.”