OPPOSITION leaders have said Labour’s call to increase council tax for Bolton is the wrong decision for residents.

Speaking at yesterday’s meeting of Bolton Council’s cabinet, the Liberal Democrats and Conservatives expressed their dismay.

Cllr David Greenhalgh, leader of the Bolton Conservatives, said he was “disappointed and shocked” that the Labour group was looking to raise council tax.

He added: “It’s not what we wanted. We will continue to argue for a council tax freeze, which is possible due to the £1.6 million surplus within the budget, not to mention the one-off revenue sources mentioned at cabinet.

“When we still have a £1.6 million surplus I think a lot of residents will question why that saving has not been passed on to them.

“There’s a million pounds on offer from the government, and it would have been the right time to take that.

“Cllr Morris’s plans are all very vague at the moment, and we want to know that this money is going to be given on the basis of priority and need rather than areas that fit the criteria. There needs to be a fair distribution across the borough.

“We have spoken in favour of the living wage — I think it’s something we all strive for. We could maybe dispute the timing but we would support moving towards the living wage.

“However, we have to be prudent.”

Leader of the Liberal Democrat Cllr Roger Hayes said a rise was “predictable”.

He added: “They’ve gone for a council tax rise and although it’s a relatively low one I think they could have managed without it “I’m pleased to see that money has been earmarked for investment in the roads, but more could be done.

“I support the increase for the lowest paid in the council in principle, but we have to think about whether it is a priority at this time.”