BOLTON Council could increase council tax by nearly five per cent, it has been revealed.

However, the town hall's political leadership is hopeful that figure could be reduced before finalising the proposals next week — once they find out how much of a £150 million Government social care funding pot will be coming to Bolton.

The cash, which it was announced this week will be shared between English councils, could reduce the burden on taxpayers next year.

Speaking in Parliament on Wednesday, Yasmin Qureshi MP issued a plea for the council to be given more resources by the Government.

The Bolton South East Labour MP said: “I am not being party political, but I find it appalling and galling that the Tory councillors of Bolton complain that the council is not doing some of the things it needs to do. Chris Green, a Conservative, recently complained to the local newspaper that the council has not filled the potholes.

“Well, the council cannot do those things because its grant has been cut by 54 per cent since 2010. The council has to spend the money it has on vital services such as looking after our elderly and our children.”

A town hall officers’ report published yesterday outlined forecasts to increase Bolton residents’ council tax by 4.99 per cent — three per cent of which would be ringfenced for adult social care. However, it is the council's elected leadership which must propose any rise to be voted on at the council’s budget meeting on February 21.

Details of their budget proposals will be revealed at a cabinet meeting next Monday.

Each per cent of a council tax rise would equate to roughly £1 million in income. Last year, Bolton Council raised council tax by 4.8 per cent, as it outlined plans to make cuts of £12.5 million by 2019.

Ms Qureshi added: “There is no money left for potholes or for environmental services.

“In some parts of my constituency young people cause a lot of social nuisance, such as breaking car windows and breaking people’s doors and windows.

“The local authority is being blamed for all of that, and people are saying, ‘You are not doing anything’.

"The political parties, especially the Conservative opposition, try to put it on the council.

“But, again, the council does not have the resources. It is doing everything it can. Where it can find some money, it is spending on the local area to try to improve the roads, get street lighting and help look after those communities affected by crime.

"The council is spending its money, but it does not have enough to give. When the hon. Member for Bolton West complains about things, I always say that he should be going to his own Government and Ministers. He should be asking them for that money. We have had a 54 per cent cut in our budget over the past eight years and they are the people responsible for the situation we are in."

But Mr Green has hit back, branding the council ‘wasteful’.

He said: “Bolton Council has cash reserves of over £200 million and they make appalling decisions such as spending £1 million on a sauna and steam room, paying union staff out of taxpayers money rather than union subs and, worst of all, the scandalous handing over of £300,000 to Asons.

“How can Yasmin Qureshi say that Bolton Council spent taxpayers money wisely when it’s waste, after waste, after waste?

“It’s about time she had a word with some of her Labour allies and started looking after the interests of taxpayers, rather than political point scoring.”

And Cllr David Greenhalgh, leader of Bolton Conservatives group, added: “We have always been really clear that hard working families are finding it difficult at the moment with the rise in the cost of living, and while frontline services are being cut then there’s no justification for a rise in council tax,

“The difference between Labour and the Conservatives is a difference in priorities. We would not sit on reserves of around £150m, we would use some of that money, we would find some of that reserve to repair roads and pavements and have a stringent review of those reserves. Some are necessary but some of which we think are unjustifiable.”

Cllr Greenhalgh also took aim at Ms Qureshi for her comments about the Conservatives’ austerity agenda.

He said: “People need to remember the state of the country’s finances in 2010. If you don’t get the finances in good order you don’t have public services. They don’t seem to understand the finances had to be put in order.”