RESIDENTS are set to be hit with a 3.9 per cent council tax increase as Hartlepool Borough Council attempts to balance its books.

The authority has not increased householders' bills for the last five years but the government's austerity cuts of almost two thirds of its budget - £38 million - in the same period means that council leaders are expected to impose the increase at a meeting tomorrow night (Thursday, February 18).

A report to full council will outline that the authority will lose almost £4.5 million in government grant for 2016/17 - a reduction of 17.9 per cent, which compounds the loss of £3.8 million in business rates from April after Hartlepool Power Station appealed against the amount it should pay.

The proposed increase includes a two per cent social care levy that must be used to look after the old and vulnerable.

Cllr Christopher Akers-Belcher, council leader, said: "As a council we have been able to freeze council tax for the last five years but even the Government acknowledges now that council tax freezes are now a thing of the past.

“I believe that the budget we are proposing is prudent and the use of one-off resources will enable us to protect frontline services and ensure no compulsory redundancies.

“It will enable us to provide vital support to those most in need whilst allocating resources to develop and improve the town, and I think we’ve got the balance right.”

The full council meeting takes place in the Civic Centre starting at 7pm. Doors open at 6.30pm.