THE councillor in charge of the town hall’s purse strings has refused to rule out a council-tax rise.

At a Prestwich Township Forum meeting at The Longfield Suite on Monday night, Bury Council’s finance representative Cllr Tony Isherwood said no decision has been made about whether the council tax will rise. It has stayed the same for the last two years after the Government agreed to pay local authorities some of the money they would have received from a rise.

But Bury Council’s Labour leadership said they feel the amount offered by Westminster this year is not high enough as it would only cover the equivalent of a one-per-cent increase.

Cllr Isherwood said: “Legally, we would be able to raise council tax by up to 4.5 per cent, but that it is not to say that that is what we will do. No decision has been made yet and there are many factors to be considered before a decision is reached.

“In the last two years, we have saved £4.5 million by making small changes to the council that have not had any impact on the services we provide. The problem is that demand for our services is growing while the money we have to provide them is falling.”

The council’s budget meeting to determine the level of council tax will be held February 20.