POLITICIANS in Wrexham have approved a council tax increase of 5.5 per cent alongside cuts worth millions of pounds. It will see the average bill for band D properties rise to £1,153 a year from April, which does not include charges from the police and fire authorities and community councils. Members of Wrexham Council’s executive board also backed a range of cuts totalling £6.1m, including a review of the county’s libraries. At a meeting held yesterday council leader Mark Pritchard (Ind) said the decision to put council tax up was difficult at a time when services were reducing. However, one councillor suggested the authority should increase it by more. Liberal Democrat group leader Alun Jenkins said ratepayers should be charged almost ten per cent extra in order to protect frontline services. He said: “We’re in a huge financial hole and the hole gets deeper year by year. “If we could raise an additional £2m through council tax then that would give us a special reserve which we could pass on to next year and would be the base for savings. “I’m on a hiding to nothing in suggesting this because the public of Wrexham are going to say we’re already paying more and we’re getting less for it, and I’m suggesting we pay even more in order to safeguard ourselves for future years. “£2 million would need a four per cent increase on top of what we’re providing at the moment. “If we were to do that we could justify it for a number of reasons. We’ve got the seventh lowest council tax levels in the whole of the UK, not just in Wales but the whole of the UK.” The council has been consulting with the public on a range of savings proposals. Among those it chose not to pursue were introducing a £30 charge for collecting garden waste and reducing black bin collections to once every three weeks. It also abandoned controversial plans to review the provision of free transport for pupils attending faith schools. In response to the suggestion put forward by Cllr Jenkins, the council’s leader said a larger increase could not be justified in light of the financial difficulties faced by residents. Cllr Pritchard said: “We’re going from 3.9 per cent to 5.5 per cent and that’s going to be difficult and hard to sell to people of Wrexham. “I’ve always been cautious on council tax for the obvious reasons. “There’s a lot of people struggling out there and if you put the council tax up too high you push them over the edge.” The council tax increase and outlined budget cuts were unanimously approved.