THE leaders of Bournemouth council have backed a six per cent increase in council tax from April.

The cabinet meeting on Wednesday heard that the borough will see its funding from central Government reduced by £4 million in the coming financial year, and again by £3.5m in 2019/20.

The council has only increased tax twice in the past seven years, which it claims equates to a real terms reduction of 11 per cent since 2010.

However as of April 1 borough residents will see their rates boosted by the 2.99 per cent maximum increase allowed by the Government without a referendum taking place, as well as the additional three per cent social care precept.

Councillor John Beesley, leader of the council, said: "The effective management of the council’s finances has never been as crucial as it is today, recognising an unprecedented funding position and simultaneous increases in the demand for services.

"Here in Bournemouth we are focused on the continuing delivery of frontline services for residents despite receiving a reduction of £54m in our core funding since 2010/11.

"In the meantime, the ongoing challenges for the funding of adults’ and children’s social care leaves council finances for all services on a knife-edge."

The council says it has identified £9.1m savings for 2018/19. It faces a funding gap of £12.4m to balance its books over the next three years.

The borough will be increasing its adults and children's services budget by £4.5m from April to account for rising demand.

With the rise, 79 per cent of the council’s entire budget will go towards statutory, demand-led social care services.

Cllr Beesley said: "We continue to face significant challenges, although to date the council has a proven track record of managing the delivery of services and balancing its financial position year on year.

"The budget we are recommending to the council is financially sound, continues to deliver front line services and supports those residents most in need in our local community."

The borough's new budget will be presented to the full council on Wednesday, February 21, for a final decision.