COUNCIL tax in Darlington is to rise by just under six per cent after councillors agreed a recommendation put before a special meeting of the authority tonight.

Labour-led Darlington Council will raise tax by 2.99 per cent plus three per cent – an additional precept allowed by the Government to fund social care services – from April.

The overall rise is the maximum amount allowed by the Government, which in December said it was aiming to ensure that the most vulnerable in society get the support they need, while still protecting residents against council tax bill rises.

In a vote 41 councillors approved the motion to raise council tax, while there were no objections.

When increased police (up 7.09 per cent) and fire service (up 2.95 per cent) precepts are taken into account it will mean the council tax for a band D property in the town will be £1,743 or £145 a month.

Councillor Charles Johnson said: “As Conservatives we reluctantly accept the proposals to increase tax.”

Earlier council leader Bill Dixon in setting out the authority’s medium term financial plan for 2018/19 to 2021/22 said members of the council had taken some really tough decisions over recent years.

Cllr Dixon compared the authority’s financial position favourably with councils such as Northamptonshire and Surrey and said it had faced almost bankruptcy in 2010/11.

He said: “This authority thanks to prudent financial management is in a far better state and that is as a result of the efforts of officers and members who have made sure we remain in control of our own destiny.”