COUNCILLORS in Selby have agreed a council tax increase of almost two per cent.

The 1.96 per cent rise – just below the level at which a referendum would have to be held – was confirmed at Selby District Council’s annual budget meeting.

Councillors said that accepting a Government grant to freeze bills would have meant needing to save an extra £93,000.

It covers the element of bills which the district authority receives income from and means residents living in Band D homes will pay £162 in 2014/15. The council said it amounted to less than a penny a day more.

The budget includes £405,000 of savings to balance the council’s budget. The authority says its Government funding could drop by £892,000 and New Homes Bonus payments would only partly fill this gap.

Parish and town councils will be paid £113,000 – 13 per cent less than in 2013/14, equal to the reduction in Government money paid to the district council – to compensate for losses through the council tax support scheme.

Council leader Mark Crane said: “We’ve made tremendous strides in driving through efficiencies and savings in recent years, but the council tax rise has to make up for the fact central Government funding for councils continues to reduce.”