PEOPLE are facing a 3.99 per cent rise to their tax bills as council chiefs face ‘massive financial challenges’ to balance their books.

The town hall says the rise is necessary to plug a £12m deficit from its 2019/20 budget – a figure that will rise to £41m by 2022.

Labour leader Andrew Western said making the savings would be ‘no easy task’ as the authority faced continued pressure around adult social care and children’s services.

He added: “The Prime Minister talks about the end of austerity but she conveniently seems to forget that councils still have to deal with massive financial challenges over the next few years

“We have had to find savings of £12m for the coming financial year and for the two years after that we will need to save an additional £29m.

“Nevertheless, we have worked hard to produce a budget that protects front line services and some of the most vulnerable people while providing value for money for residents.”

The tax rise would see bills for Band D properties rise by £46.

Further attempts to balance the books include ‘new income proposals’ of £3.13m by reviewing car parking charges and environmental health services.

However, an additional £2.85m will also be cut from various – already overstretched – services including £371,000 by reducing the use of children’s homes.

Opposition boss Sean Anstee accused Labour of ‘having little idea’ about how to meet budget gaps.

He told a meeting of the council’s executive: “This should concern residents as the proposals contain the maximum council tax rise, a 150 per cent increase in car parking charges while not removing the green waste charge despite an ‘aspiration’ to do so.  

“Residents have been sold a pup and will face the consequences of a Labour administration who are on course to overspend the council’s budget already this year.”