BLACKBURN with Darwen Council’s Labour leadership will freeze the borough’s council tax when it sets its budget on Monday.

Borough leader Kate Hollern said she could not impose any extra cash burden on hard-pressed residents and families.

With Lancashire Police imposing a rise of just under two per cent on the rate it levies through the council tax, this means an average band D property will pay £1,486.46 a year in 2014-2015 without any extra parish council precept of up to £5.

Last year’s figure was £1,483.42.

Coun Hollern said: “We will be proposing a council tax freeze for 2014-2015.

“We did not think it was fair to impose a further burden on residents all ready hit by soaring energy prices, VAT and other costs.

“This coalition government left us with a difficult choice.

“We have had to cut £90 million from our budgets – 40 per cent.

“Service to the most vulnerable, hit by the bedroom tax and benefit cuts, have had to be severely reduced.

“We did not want to cut services further but felt we could not add to hard-pressed residents financial burdens and costs.

“As a Labour group, we just did not think that the people of Blackburn with Darwen council could afford to pay anything extra.”

As an all-purpose authority, Blackburn with Darwen is unaffected by Lancashire County Council’s decision to increase its levy by 1.99 per cent.

While Burnley has imposed a similar council tax rise, Ribble Valley, Hyndburn, Chorley, Rossendale and Pendle froze their charges as did the Fire and Rescue Authority.

Blackburn with Darwen borough is in the middle of a two-year programme to cut £30 million from its budgets after Whitehall grant reductions with 500 council jobs being axed, old people’s homes shutting, children’s centres closing and leisure centre charges rising as hours reduce.

Borough Liberal Democrat leader David Foster said: “I think this is the right thing to do. People cannot afford to pay any more.”