TORIES will today bid to block an increase in household taxes proposed by the Labour leadership of Lancashire County Council.

If the minority administration gets its way, the council tax bill from county hall for six boroughs in East Lancashire will rise by just under two per cent for the year from April.

Labour has proposed a 1.99 per cent increase for its major portion of household rates in Burnley, Hyndburn, Ribble Valley, Pendle, Chorley and Rossendale, adding 41.5p a week to bills.

Geoff Driver, county Tory leader, last night pledged to oppose the move accusing Labour of ‘irresponsibility’. This leaves Labour depending on six Liberal Democrats this morning deciding to back the rise, to get it through today’s annual budget meeting.

The increase would raise £7.3 million producing an annual charge of £1,107 for county services for the average ‘Band D’ household in Lancashire.

Coun Driver said: “We are totally opposed to this rise.

“It is typical Labour irresponsibility, hitting average households with higher bills while cutting services to the vulnerable.”

Lib Dem chief whip and Craven councillor David Whipp said: “We will decide in the morning whether to support Labour’s budget. We have won significant concessions such as the reversal of proposed cuts in subsidies to bus services and winter gritting.”

County deputy leader and finance boss David Borrow said: “This 1.99 per cent increase would mean asking people to pay slightly less council tax than they were paying two years ago, but the extra funds would make a real difference to local services.”

The Lancashire police levy will rise by just under two per cent adding £2 a month to bills but the county fire authority has frozen its ‘precept’.

While Burnley is proposing to increase its council tax by 1.99 per cent, the other boroughs are set to freeze their household rates, although Pendle’s final decision is still under cross-party negotiation.

Blackburn with Darwen borough, a unitary council independent of Lancashire county, is also expected to freeze its bills.