COUNCIL leader Cllr Terry O'Neill has accused the Government of 'hating' the public sector and believes the authority is on a 'cliff edge' amid the social care funding crisis.

The £136.83 million budget for 2018-19 – including a 5.98 per cent council tax increase, savings of £15.5 million and reduction of up to 40 posts – was unanimously approved by the executive board on Monday.

It will now be put the full council for a vote at the Town Hall on February 26.

Band D residents have faced a £1,315.90 tax bill in 2017-18 but a 5.98 per cent increase will see the figure rise by £78.69, which amounts to just under an additional £1.52 a week.

The council is proposing to increase council tax by 2.98 per cent for 2018-19, along with an additional three per cent adult social care precept.

The Government is allowing local authorities to hike tax by up to 5.99 per cent this year to address shortfalls in social care funding but Cllr O'Neill (LAB – Burtonwood and Winwick) slammed those in power.

He said: "With the council tax rise, I think it is immoral really and certainly something I don't agree with, that the council taxpayers pay for something that should be funded nationally.

"It is just immoral and ridiculous that the council taxpayer is having to fund it – it should be funded by the Government.

"There is not enough money in the system that we can generate to pay for adult social care.

"We are on a cliff edge at the moment.

"Why this Government hates the public sector so much I don't know.

"It is public sector workers and services that are the bread and butter of our country and it is something that we should all be proud of that we work for a public sector organisation.

"We are here to make sure the most vulnerable people in the town are protected and that is what we are doing.

"In very difficult circumstances we are doing our best for this town."

Deputy council leader Cllr Russ Bowden, executive board member for corporate finance, also highlighted his fears to members and labelled the social care funding situation as a 'national crisis'.

He said: "It is left up to councils to fill the gap.

"It leaves us with little choice but to accept that position in terms of additional precept.

"Councils are now going to continue to face public wrath over council tax."