WORCESTERSHIRE County council has agreed to put up its share of Bromsgrove and Redditch residents' council tax by nearly five per cent.

The decision was taken at a meeting to approve the County Hall budget, but the authority’s leader Simon Geraghty promised no such increase next year.

Cllr Geraghty told fellow councillors yesterday it was necessary to raise its share of council tax by 4.94 per cent this year to pay for essential services.

He pledged during a debate on a motion put forward by Green and Liberal Democrat Councillors to reduce the proportion of the increase ring-fenced for adult social care.

He said: “If we agreed to this, the message would be that we would have another five per cent increase next year.

"There will not be a maximum increase next year.”

Earlier a motion by the 2017 Group to add one per cent to the tax bill to fund adult social care had been voted down by Conservative councillors, with Labour councillors abstaining.

Lib Dem Cllr Fran Oborski said: “There is a black hole in adult services. This amendment will solve these real problems.”

Labour councillors were criticised by Lib Dems for not supporting their amendments and by Conservative councillors for not putting forward any alternative proposals.

But they said that they couldn’t support amendments to a budget they described as a total failure.

Cllr Chris Bloor, who also represents Bromsgrove South, said: “This government has cut the council’s funding by half over the last few years.

"There is no escaping that. An extra million or million and a half does not make up for that.

"The relationship of this council and the Conservative government is one of abuse.”