Merseyside residents are likely to be hit with a 5% Council Tax rise in April - despite the pressures being felt by many because of the pandemic.

The government has given cash-strapped councils the 'freedom' to raise bills by upto 5% - despite wages and inflation plummeting during the crisis.

Of the rises, 2% will be be able to go to general funds with 3% going to cash-strapped social care.

On top of this core increase, an extra £15 rise for a Band D home will be allowed for police commissioners.

Councils in Merseyside have been battered by the covid crisis both in terms of money they have had to pay out to support people and huge losses of income for things like car parking charges and leisure services.

So local authorities are likely to find it impossible to do anything other than bring in the 5% hike in tax for local people because of their financial positions and the hgue pressures of adult social care.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak boasted the “core spending power” for councils would raise by 4.5% in April 2021.

But up to £1.9billion of that will be made up of the huge above-inflation council tax rises, charged directly to residents.

They have repeatedly forked out for rises of 5% or even 6% in recent years as the government passed cuts on to local ratepayers.

Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson described the plan as 'smoke and mirrors' that will once again see struggling taxpayers in the city paying for council services and social care instead of the government.

He said: "It is coming upto a year since the General Election when Boris Johnson promised us all he had a big plan to fix the social care crisis - and here we are again with the poorest people being asked to pay for it and during a pandemic when so many people are struggling."

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The city mayor, who is likely to have to bring in the maximum increase, added: "This is not a fair way of doing things.

"In Bristol, such an increase would bring in £38m more than in Liverpool because of the types of housing they have there - but Bristol doesn't have the same level of needs as Liverpoolso it just doesn't work.

"I have been calling for a new fair funding formula for the past ten years and I would really like to see the national Labour Party taking a lead on this and putting forward its ideas to address the huge inequities in this system that is affecting people's lives."