People in Harrow will face a council tax increase of 4.99 per cent – the maximum allowed without calling a referendum – as part of the latest budget.

Harrow Council approved a balanced budget for 2019/20 but bemoaned further funding cuts from central government which, it says, have left it “walking a tightrope”.

It means residents are faced with another year of paying more council tax, with band D properties – considered the average in the borough – contributing around £150 a month.

Cllr Adam Swersky, responsible for finance at Harrow Council, explained that it was loath to introduce tax hikes but, given the circumstances, it was left with little choice.

“This is one of the hardest decisions we have to make, but it is something that 97 per cent of councils around the country have had to do,” he said.

“Really this is a national tax that has been forced on people by the Government against their will.”

He noted that funding from central government to Harrow has decreased by £50 million in the past six years.

But he expressed pride in the fact that, despite Harrow being a “low-funded council”, it had produced another balanced budget without making use of reserves.

He added that the council will “continue to do lots of good things” in key areas and protect the borough’s most-vulnerable residents.

“We’re in a difficult financial situation and, with increasing demand, we’ve had to make some tough choices,” he said.

“But there is a growth in adult social care, for example, which is a clear choice showing that people who need our services the most will continue to be supported.

“We also reinforced our commitment to more social housing and the overall regeneration programme.”