A £140 million budget including a council tax increase has been approved – but a former cabinet member fears it is not deliverable.

The Labour-run council’s financial plan for 2020-21 was backed during the full council meeting at the Town Hall on Monday.

It totals £139.97 million but includes cuts and savings totalling £14.1 million, along with a 3.98 per cent council tax increase.

It is estimated that proposals will lead to a reduction of up to 50 posts.

Residents living in an average band D property will be paying around £60 extra per year.

It would mean the average band D taxpayer in Warrington will be paying £1,777.02 a year from April – which comprises the borough council tax, along with the fire and police precepts.

In areas with parish councils, that average rises to £1,811.09.

The Liberal Democrats voted against the Labour administration’s budget, along with independents Cllr Dan Price and Cllr Geoff Fellows.

In total, 37 voted in favour of it, 12 against and two abstained.

Tory Cllr Kath Buckley and Labour’s Cllr David Keane, who is Cheshire’s police and crime commissioner, abstained.

The Liberal Democrats’ proposed an amendment calling for more openness, transparency and consultation but this was rejected by Labour.

However, council leader Cllr Russ Bowden labelled the amendment as ‘entirely flawed’.

He also said austerity is not over and insisted the authority has ‘kept the show on the road despite the most savage austerity’ over the last 10 years.

Deputy Cllr Cathy Mitchell told members the council is using innovation and thinking outside the box.

She said: “We are a Labour council as the last line of defence in between an onslaught of Tory cuts and the people of Warrington.”

Liberal Democrat Cllr Ian Marks, a former council leader, said it is becoming increasingly difficult for the authority to balance the books.

He added: “For the current year an overspend is still being predicted, meaning we will have to dip into reserves.

“One reason for the overspend is that the savings do not happen from the start of the year ahead so we do not receive the whole year benefit.”

Ahead of the all-out elections in May, Cllr Price, a former cabinet member, confirmed it would be the last time he would be in the chamber for a budget.

He said he voted against the budget as he is ‘not convinced’ it is deliverable, along with raising concerns over a ‘ballooning’ adult social care bill for the borough.