WORCESTERSHIRE County council has agreed to put up its share of the council tax by nearly five per cent.

The decision was taken at a meeting to approve the County Hall budget but the authority’s leader Simon Geraghty promised no such increase next year.

Councillor Geraghty told the meeting yesterday it was necessary to raise its share of council tax by 4.94 per cent this year to pay for essential services.

He made the promise during a debate on a motion put forward by Green and Liberal Democrat Councillors to reduce the proportion of the increase ring-fenced for adult social care

He said: “If we agreed to this the message would be that we would have another five per cent increase next year. There will not be a maximum increase next year.”

Earlier a motion by the 2017 Group to add one per cent to the tax bill to fund adult social care had been voted down by Conservative councillors, with Labour councillors abstaining.

Lib Dem councillor Fran Oborski said: “There is a black hole in adult services. This amendment will solve these real problems.”

Labour councillors were criticised by Lib Dems for not supporting their amendments and by Conservative councillors for not putting forward any alternative proposals.

But they said that they couldn’t support amendments to a budget they described as a total failure.

Councillor Chris Bloor said: “This government has cut the council’s funding by half over the last few years. There is no escaping that. An extra million or million and a half does not make up for that. The relationship of this council and the Conservative government is one of abuse.”

The budget was approved by with the votes of Conservative councillors and one independent, easily outweighing the votes against made by Labour, Lib Dem, and Green  councillors.