Huntingdon Town Council is to put up its share of the council tax bill by more than six per cent in the wake of rising staff pensions and government taxes.

The town's council tax precept for a Band D home is to increase to £2.61 per week, a year after the authority chose to freeze its rates.

It means the annual cost to householders in a Band D property will rise from £128.13 to £136.26.

The town council's overall annual spend is set to increase from £929,550 to £999,476 - a rise of £69,926 - or about 7.5 per cent.

Councillor Daryl Brown, the mayor of Huntingdon, said: "The majority of the increase came down to an increase in staffing [at the council] and we recognised the precept had to increase as there was no increase last year. We hope that this will be affordable to residents."

The council also said the change in law regarding pensions, and national insurance costs rising both contributed to the increase in precept.

"By having no increase last year your percentage increase this year is going to look worse," town clerk, Philip Peacock, told councillors at a meeting of the council held last Thursday.

"All these swaps and changes at the last minute prove very difficult. You are a public body and you have one bite of the cherry to raise your money and you have to budget for it wisely."

The increase of 6.35 per cent in the precept came after a lively debate between councillors at the meeting, where it was also revealed the original increase could have been as much as 37 per cent following a budget review by the council's finance committee.

"I was a bit surprised when that figure came back," said Cllr Brown. "There would have been a 37 per cent rise if we wanted to achieve everything we wanted to do this year. That was an unacceptable rise so we had to recognise what the things were that we need to do this year."

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