A COUNCIL tax rise of nearly two per cent is on the cards because of the impact of the coronavirus.

Councillor Peter Thornton, deputy leader of the county council, has said the increase is needed to protect frontline services after covid-19 put additional pressure on resources.

The council has now launched a consultation on the proposal after the Boris Johnson's Government announced it would not set an Autumn budget.

Council leaders estimate they will to make £17m of savings in the coming year.

They also say that because chancellor Rishi Sunak is conducting a one-year Spending Review for 2021-22, which will be published on 25 November, this means Cumbria County Council, alongside all others, will be unclear about any future financial settlement, making forward planning very difficult.

Mr Thornton, a Liberal Democrat, said: "The proposal to increase council tax by 1.99 per cent is a difficult one to make but this increase will raise £5million to invest into essential council services and it will help us deliver the legal requirement of a balanced budget.

"We have worked hard to keep this proposed increase as low as is possible and it is just £2.39 a month on a Band D property.

"The money it generates will help us to provide essential services to those who need us most."

The consultation document is now available at cumbria.gov.uk/budgetconsultation and will run until January 4, 2021.

Feedback from the public consultation will be considered by council cabinet and then go to full council meeting with recommendations in February 2021 alongside the Budget and Medium Term Financial Plan.