COUNCIL TAX will rise by around £66 next year after budget plans were backed.

Worcester City Council unanimously approved its budget for next year which included a £5 rise in council tax for the average city household.

The city council’s £10.7 million budget includes £2.85 million for sport, £100,000 to support the city becoming environmentally sustainable, more than £300,000 to revamp the city’s historic Arches and £695,000 to provide at-home facilities for people living with disabilities.

Thousands has also been earmarked for play areas and car parks.

The budget was backed by councillors at a full meeting on Tuesday (February 18) in the Guildhall.

Councillor Marc Bayliss, leader of the city council, said there had not been a “bottomless pit of money” for councillors to get everything they wanted but the right balance had been struck.

He said the drop in income from car parking and crematorium fees had meant the council had been left with some “challenging decisions” which had been dealt with maturely.

Cllr Adrian Gregson, deputy leader of the council and leader of the council’s Labour group, warned that whilst the budget was balanced this year, million pound gaps in budgets were appearing in future years which needed to be taken seriously.

“There are plans afoot. We do need to bear those in mind. It’s no use waiting until this time next year to try and do that,” he said.

Cllr Louis Stephen, leader of the council’s Green group, welcomed the £100,000 to help make the city environmentally sustainable.

He said: “Declaring a climate emergency was the easy bit. If we do want to get anywhere near our carbon zero targets we now need to pick up pace. Tinkering around the edges is not going to get us where we need to be.”

Worcestershire County Council has already backed a four per cent increase for the amount it asks from residents - with two per cent ring-fenced for adult social care.

West Mercia Police and Crime Commissioner John Campion had his budget plan backed earlier this month with a four per cent rise funding extra officers, he said.

Hereford and Worcester Fire and Rescue Service has also asked for £2 more next year.