COUNCIL tax in Selby District is set to rise by two per cent.

The increase is the first in the district in two years and has been called “the fairest thing to do”.

Government payments offered to Selby District Council would equal a one per cent increase, but after accepting the grant in the previous two years, the authority has now declined the offer.

Council leader Mark Crane said a two per cent rise this year should mean lower rises in future, if Government funds were unavailable.

He said: “We were offered a one-off contribution, equivalent to one per cent increase on council tax. In the last two years we have kept council tax at zero per cent increase and in fact for the last ten years we have kept it at or below the rate of inflation.

“If we have zero per cent increase for a third year running, it will mean council tax base is consequently lower. It seems sensible thing to do to put it up by a very modest two per cent. It sounds like a lot of councils will be doing what we are going to do this year and put council tax up by two per cent.”

The current council tax for a Band D property in the Selby district is currently £156, meaning residents can expect an annual raise of £3.12 per year.

Labour leader Councillor Steve Shaw-Wright also welcomed the announcement. He said: “At first look it may seem a good deal, however the long term the consequence of accepting the grant means that Selby council’s financial base budget is cut by around £90,000 year, year on year.

“The Labour group had recognised this and had opposed the acceptance of the grant because of the long term damage it does to the base budget and directly upon the services that the council provides.”

Coun Crane said: “I think it’s the fairest thing to do because we have ongoing costs all the jobs we need to do and the Government grant has decreased significantly. The only way this council can raise money is to put it on council tax.”