HOUSEHOLDERS in Wrexham face a council tax increase of just under three per cent from April.

The budget due to be considered by the county borough council’s executive board today calls for a rise of 2.94 per cent to finance the authority’s projected spending package of £208 million - £7 million up on the current financial year.

If approved by the full council at the end of February, this means the tax on a typical band D property would go up from £840 to £864.18 a year.

That equates to a 47p a week rise and is below the all-Wales average figure of £898.

Outlining proposed budget measures, chief finance and performance officer Mark Owen said council chiefs would be looking for savings of £2.8 million in the forthcoming financial year, with the axe falling on departments such as finance and performance, planning, IT and asset management.

It would also mean no pay increase for council staff – apart from teachers, who are covered by national agreements – and provision to make further savings in future years.

Mr Owen added that council spending would include a two per cent increase for schools, a five per cent rise in children’s services – as a result of the implications of the infamous Baby Peter case – and a four per cent increase for adult social care.

Other priority areas would be the provision of affordable homes and fuel efficiency measures.

Council leader, Cllr Aled Roberts, described it as a “well-balanced budget”.

He said: “We started off with some big pressures and other pressures have now come in, such as having to buy extra road salt to cope with the winter weather and the condition the roads have been left in by the weather.

“We have to recognise that people are under a lot of pressure as a result of the current economic situation and keep the council tax as reasonable as possible.

“At the same time we have to generate enough income to meet increasing demands. We have to stay lean yet still protect the vulnerable.”

He added: “We have to talk with our departments and schools to make ourselves more effective and competitive.”