COUNCIL tax is set to rise by 3.9 per cent next year, the second lowest increase expected in Greater Manchester.

The increase set by the local authority will be 2.25 per cent with the rest of the rise coming from the mayoral precept set by Andy Burnham.

This is lower than what the Labour-run council previously suggested, but Conservatives say this cut does not go far enough.

The local authority's part of the council tax rise is made up of 1.25 per cent general levy, down from 1.5 per cent, and one per cent for adult social care.

The Tories will produce a fully-costed budget with a zero per cent general levy increase, while supporting the rise for adult social care.

Tory leader David Greenhalgh said: “We do not believe it is right to go back to the residents of this town year on year increasing their council tax, when the services they have a right to expect in return for that tax are reducing, and especially in a year when the Greater Manchester mayoral precepts residents are having to pay are increasing as well.

“There exists a real disconnect between the Labour council and many residents in Bolton because basic front line services are not prioritised.

“Labour's increase is better in residents’ own pockets, not in the Council coffers, for them to choose to spend as they want.”

The Tories say they would raise extra money using rental income from council's assets managed through a partnership with Public Sector PLC (PSP).

Instead, £4m of the council's share in PSP will be used for further investment in district town centres across the borough.

The council will use £8 million from its reserves to balance the books for its 2019-21 budget meaning its departments must find further savings totalling £23.5m.

Council leader Linda Thomas said the budget was a “sad reflection” of where the UK is today.

She said: “We have been led to believe that austerity has ended. You can see by the paper today that this is not the case because we are having to find an extra £23m of cuts.

"Unfortunately, the government have made the presumption that we would all ask the council payers for a three per cent increase. We thought this was unreasonable. That’s why we have come in at a lower rate."

Councils are allowed to raise their council tax precept by up to three per cent before calling a referendum to increase it further.

Rather than raising the precept to the maximum level, the council is looking at other cost-cutting measures.

This includes redundancies for at least 124 council staff following a full staffing review in several council departments as well as the museum, library and archive.

There will also be a review of the Community Meals Service and the School Meal Subsidy to save more than half a million pounds.

Other measures include handing the town’s 28 bowling greens over to users; however, the council has now halved its savings target and promised to take a phased approach in the move towards self-management.

The mayoral precept, which is spent on police, fire services and transports, will be decided on Friday.

Mayor Andy Burnham is currently proposing to charge taxpayers an additional £33.

Bolton Council's plans for council tax will be approved at a full council meeting next Wednesday.