Watford council's cabinet has recommended a council tax increase to "protect" local services amid “unprecedented” financial pressures.

Watford Council Cabinet will propose a 2.99 per cent council tax increase at the meeting on the next year’s budget on Monday.

The increase would see a Band D property pay an extra 17p a week as the council said it aims to protect essential services and continue investment in the town.

It said the level of inflation, escalating costs and increased demand for services like housing and homeless have led to “a significant gap between its income and spending”.

The council also claimed this comes after its funding from the central government has been cut over 50 per cent in real terms in 10 years.

Following the Cabinet meeting next Monday, the budget will be debated and voted on by all Watford Borough councillors on January 30.

Watford Mayor Peter Taylor said: “Whilst we have had to take some very difficult decisions this year, I am pleased to be putting forward a budget that protects our ambitious plans for Watford and the services local people tell us they value.  

“Soaring costs have hit councils hard but government has not recognised this with any additional funding. Our services grant from government reduced from £110,000 this year to £18,000 for next, so we have had to dig deep.  

“This has included cutting costs where we can and making the most of our income opportunities, including the return on our property investments.”

The mayor said the proposals will protect local services and projects, such as plans to revamp the Watford Colosseum and Watford museum, as well as the expanding the Beryl Bikes scheme.

He said the proposed budget will also include funding to launch an eco-friendly car club scheme, replace CCTV and plant trees.

The final rates will be confirmed in March after Hertfordshire County Council and the Police and Crime Commissioner finalise their council tax figures.