COUNCIL tax is set to rise by 1.99 per cent despite opposition from some Cumbrian councillors - an increase of just over £1 a week for a Band D property.

The authority has also agreed to an additional increase to the precept for adult social care of two per cent.

Peter Thornton, cabinet member for finance, told a meeting of the full council that the authority’s total expenditure is £891m - almost £2.5m every day.

However, council tax represents just over 28 per cent of its income and Cllr Thornton said the authority had no option but to make the hike to “cover pressures elsewhere.”

He said: “These recommendations deliver our council plan, protect the most vulnerable in society, help reshape the council to make it fit for the future and provide a strong financial base for the council moving forward.

“The headline is that our budget balances and that we are asking the residents of Cumbria for about £20 a head extra, over a whole year, or £55 per property on average with no reduction in our services.”

The council pledged to invest £10m over five years in Cumbria care homes – maintaining existing homes and investing in them for the future.

It also pledged £10m in capital investment over five years in match funding for Strategic Highways Schemes in anticipation of “significant investment” into roads from central Government.

Under the plans, £95m in capital investment over five years in highways funding will be devolved to the authority’s local committees.

More than £700,000, rising to £1m a year, will be invested in the Fire and Rescue Service; £9m pounds a year in children’s services; £5m pounds a year in younger adults; and £1m pounds a year to help meet the school transport needs of disabled children.

However, a three-part amendment from the Conservative Group was defeated.

It had called for £2.3m to be pumped into “community empowering” projects over the coming year.

Its proposals had included £1.2m for transport solutions for local communities - £200,000 per local committee.

It also wanted to see the launch of a £600,000 county lengthsman scheme: £100,000 for each local committee to carry out third party work on highways, such as gulley cleaning and maintenance of road signs.

Finally, it wanted to see a £500,000 central pot to build up working with volunteer organisations to help vulnerable families across the county.

It said this would prevent children’s social care needs from escalating.

Conservative group leader Cllr James Airey said: “Our amendments give a real flavour of how a Conservative-led council will seek to truly deliver localism to our communities.

“We will support parish, town and community groups to enhance their highway services by employing lengthsmen to work on the ground, doing the important jobs that can get missed.

“Our transport plan will provide a fund to support transport solutions, including much greener, cleaner ways to travel.

“And our 'think family' proposal recognises the contribution made by third sector organisations who provide valuable support for families. This is about empowering our communities and our residents.”

The council rejected the Conservative amendment by 43 votes to 31, which Cllr Airey described as "disappointing for the people of Cumbria".