Barnet’s ruling Conservative group plan to increase council tax bills by the legal maximum despite a manifesto promise to keep council tax low.

The move could mean a £109 council tax hike on bills for band D properties over the next three years, according to the Labour group.

A budget report published after local elections in May detailed plans to raise general council tax by the legal maximum of 2.99 per cent each year for the next three years.

Leader of Barnet Labour group Cllr Barry Rawlings accused the Conservatives of breaking their manifesto pledge to keep council tax low.

In a motion to the full council meeting on July 31, Cllr Rawlings demanded an apology from the council leader.

He said: “It hasn’t taken long for the Conservative manifesto to move from being a blueprint of future council priorities to the waste bin.

“Going for the highest possible council tax rise is not keeping it ‘low’. This is a manifesto already torn up a few weeks after an election.

“If the Tories were serious about keeping council tax low they would remove the maximum increase in general council tax from their medium term financial strategy.

“The people of Barnet deserve an apology.”

Leader of Barnet Council Cllr Richard Cornelius said: “I am so happy Cllr Rawlings has converted to the cause of low-tax Conservatism.

“For years the Labour Group criticised our council tax freezes, which have saved residents £97 on their bills since 2014, and condemned the Capita contracts which have kept them £156 lower.

“But, from what Barnet Labour have said, I do not think his party are in step with him. I only hope it does not further upset his fellow members.”