NOT raising council tax in Malvern would be “irresponsible” according to a councillor.

Cllr Peter Whatley was speaking at the Executive Committee meeting of Malvern Hills District Council, where he proposed approval of the council’s new budget.

This includes a proposed tax increase of £5 for the average Band D property.

Cllr Whatley said: “This is known territory to everyone in this meeting - we were recommended to approve the budgets, which incorporate a £5 increase to Band D properties.

“Looking back around three months ago, there were a number of things we did not know about finance - this remains substantially true.

“We do not know what will happen with coverage of retail business rates and do not know what income loss we will have from car parking and similar things.

“We face a situation where we must hope for the best in financial terms, and it is only prudent that we plan for the worst.

“To do anything else would be irresponsible and contrary to what has already been agreed and what has been in the medium term financial plan and other documents for the last few years.”

According to the agenda documents from the meeting, to maintain “robust financial planning and to set a framework within which to construct the annual budget”, the Medium Term Financial Plan (MTFP) is revisited annually.

On December 4, the Council approved the MTFP for the period 2021/22 to 2025/26.

The Council also approved its updated business plan on January 26 “to ensure the continued alignment of resources to the Council’s priorities over the medium-term and identify actions to ensure the Council retains financial sustainability.”

The proposal was seconded by Cllr David Harrison (Kempsey) and there were no objections.