COUNCIL tax will increase by £80.60 for average taxpayers in Oxfordshire after county councillors agreed to an increase of 5.99 per cent for 2018/19.

That hike is the highest increase that the council can implement without taking the decision to hold a referendum.

The Government gave the council permission to increase it to 5.99 per cent at the end of last year, one per cent more than the 4.99 per cent that it had earlier proposed.

The council expects that move to raise £3.3m more than originally planned.

Band D council taxpayers’ council tax will now increase from £1.345.59 to £1.426.19 in 2018/19.

Three per cent of the council’s increase was always proposed, as a precept to pay for adult social care.

Ian Hudspeth, Oxfordshire County Council leader, said: “I do not believe in raising taxes unnecessarily.

“I understand the impact on our residents who may not have had an increase in their wages. However, I am confident that people understand about the rising cost of social care. In return, we will always ensure the money is spent as efficiently as possible.”

He announced that the county council was given an additional £1.4m to pay for adult social care last week, after the budget’s papers had been published.

Mr Hudspeth said it was proof the Government ‘is aware’ of the council’s pressures and proposed that it be included in a contingency fund.