A council tax hike of 3.99 per cent has been signed off by Shropshire Council.

The increase, which comes into effect at the start of the 21/22 financial year in April, was approved at a meeting of the full council on Thursday despite opposition members saying not enough information had been provided to back up the proposal.

Bills had been set to rise by 4.99 per cent – the maximum legally allowed without a local referendum – to raise an additional £8.2 million in the council’s 2021/22 budget.

This was made up of a 1.99 per cent general increase and a further three per cent ring-fenced for social care.

But this was revised down by one per cent at the request of council leader Peter Nutting at a meeting of the authority’s cabinet earlier this month.

Speaking at Thursday’s meeting, he said: “Decisions about council tax levels are never easy.

“Government guidelines allow major authorities like Shropshire to increase council tax by two per cent to cover normal service pressure and another two per cent to help cover the increasing cost of adult social care.

“This year councils have also been allowed another one per cent towards adult social care, but this part of the increase can be delayed for one year to ease the financial pressure on hard-pressed families.

“Shropshire will be taking advantage of this guidance and will take a decision about the extra one per cent next year when deciding its budget at that time.

“This Conservative administration recognises the pressure the Covid pandemic has put on personal finances and hopes that this small gesture, by not having the further one per cent, will help residents in a difficult year.”

Councillor Nutting added that the proposed increase was “lower than most neighbouring authorities in the West Midlands”.

Liberal Democrat group leader Roger Evans said he would abstain from the vote, saying: “I have not got enough information to know whether this is a realistic council tax increase or not.

“All the information has not been published.”

This was rejected by Councillor Nutting, who pointed to the 350 pages of financial information that accompanied the meeting agenda.

The council tax rate was passed with 44 votes, including all Conservatives present and four independent members.

All Liberal Democrat and Labour members present, along with the single Green and two independent councillors – a total of 18 – abstained from the vote.

Shropshire Council is also responsible for collecting taxes on behalf of other precepting authorities. The precept increase for West Mercia Police is 6.66 per cent, Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service 1.99 per cent, and town and parish councils will raise their precepts by an average 1.78 per cent.