BROMSGROVE councillors have agreed a 2.19% council tax rise after rejecting calls for a freeze.

Instead they say the ‘moderate’ increase delivers a ‘fiscally stable’ budget.

The controlling Conservative group on the District Council says the budget means the council can ‘help business, create jobs and lift the economy as we move out of the pandemic.’

The Labour Group had put forward an alternative budget which would have seen council tax frozen ‘to help vulnerable residents’.

They said it could be done by finding some savings and using a small amount of the council’s reserves.

But the Conservatives said it was ‘paramount the council remains fiscally stable.’

They say the 2.19% rise – estimated at about £5 for an average tax payer – is moderate compared to neighbouring Birmingham’s 5% rise.

Some of the ‘headline’ items in the budget are:

• New bus services linking the town centre, railways station, residential and commercial areas

• Improvements to parks and green spaces

• Electric charging points for vehicles

On top of the council tax, more money is expected to be raised through refuse services.

Rejecting the tax freeze, they said: “If the reserves of any council are drained they risk, in the future, going into special measures. This will not happen to BDC under our administration.

“The finances of Bromsgrove are secure in the most uncertain times of this pandemic. This means the council is able to support families who have been hit by hardship. All residents can look forward to a very prosperous future.”