COUNTY council tax bills across five boroughs in East Lancashire look set to rise by just under two per cent for this financial year.

The Labour administration at County Hall has proposed a 1.99 per cent increase for the major portion of council tax bills in Burnley, Hyndburn, Ribble Valley, Pendle and Rossendale.

This would add just under £7.25million to the authority’s coffers for the forthcoming 12 months, the county’s cabinet was told.

And it would mean a charge of £1,107 for county services, for the average household in Lancashire. County council leader Coun Jennifer Mein said it equated to around 41.5p extra per week for bill payers.

If the county council had chosen to opt for a council tax freeze then it would have received around £4.2million from Whitehall, according to finance bosses.

Coun David Borrow, deputy leader and resources cabinet member, said he would also be setting aside £5million from the council’s reserves to meet any funding gap. But he said he was ‘confident’ this would not be required and added: “Officers and cabinet members need to be looking at savings all of the time.”

Coun Geoff Driver, the Conservative opposition group leader, said: “The use of resources to balance the budget is not a good one at the best of times.

“But it is particularly worrying we are proposing that when will be facing such serious financial pressures.”

Another £159million in savings must still be found across the following three years.