COUNCIL tax bills in Bury are set to rise — but only by an average of £3.

Bury Council has decided to “freeze” its part of the council tax, but an increase in the police precept will mean the total bill for residents will go up by 0.2 per cent.

This will mean residents in Band D houses will have to pay an extra £2.97 per year.

At a budget council meeting being held last night, it was also set to be agreed that council house rents will rise this year by 2.5 per cent, less than inflation.

The council had originally planned to spend £22 million over three years on upgrading its 8,000 houses, which are managed by Six Town Housing, but this will now go up to £34 million.

The council also endorsed cuts of £9.6 million in 2014/15, comprising £7.4 million in line with the budget agreed last year under the Plan for Change, plus a further £2.2 million of mostly internal efficiencies.

Cllr John Smith, cabinet member for finance and corporate affairs, said: “We know how much Bury residents are suffering in these tough economic times, whether striving to get a job or struggling through on low incomes while the price of essentials rises all the time.

"So, despite huge and unprecedented cuts to our budget, we have decided to freeze the Bury element of council tax this coming year.

“This year, the government has slashed the money we receive by almost 9.9 per cent, and we expect an even bigger cut of 14 per cent next year.”

The meeting also approved a £500,000 project to upgrade the A56 Bury New Road through Prestwich.

Council leader Mike Connolly added: “I am delighted that we’ve been able to freeze the council tax this year, and I know that residents will welcome this. The budget is also a good deal for tenants, and I’m sure Prestwich residents will welcome investment in their area.”

Explaining the rise in the police precept, Greater Manchester Police and Crime Commissioner Tony Lloyd said: “Part of the money will be used on recruiting 50 police constables for neighbourhood policing teams in Greater Manchester.

"That means there will be a net reduction in police officers of 300 in 2014-15, rather than 350.”

  • Last night, the Conservative group was to table an amendment to the budget plans of the ruling Labour group, which outlined £3.576 million of spending priorities. The Tory proposals included plans to create 52 new apprentices for young people, reinstating free parking in all council pay and display areas in Bury on Sundays and offering one hour of free parking on weekdays.