Councillors in Barnet have agreed to a partial freeze of council tax following a row over how best to help residents facing the cost of living crisis.

But despite there being no increase to the core portion of council tax, annual band D bills will rise by £43.30 for the coming financial year because of a 1% increase in the precept used to fund adult social care and an 8.8% hike in the Greater London Authority’s share of the bill.

Opposition councillors called for the administration to go further and freeze the precept, as Labour set out alternative plans they claimed would “prioritise the things people care about”.

The clash came during a full council meeting on Tuesday.

Introducing the administration’s budget, leader Dan Thomas said the core council tax freeze would “help all families” and that Barnet would “continue to have the lowest council tax of all our neighbouring boroughs”.

He added that a government rebate of £150 for those in council tax bands A to D would benefit 83,000 households in the borough.

Although the council plans to save £7.9million next year, Cllr Thomas said this would be “dwarfed” by £1billion of investment over five years in housing, schools and other facilities.

Next year, he announced, there would be £2m more spent on children’s services, £6m more on adults’ services and £1.6m extra on the environment.

He added: “As Conservatives, we will strive to offer value for money, as well as being the best London borough [in which] to live, work and enjoy life.”

The Labour group’s budget amendment proposed spending a further £5m on adult social care on top of the Tories’ plans, £259,000 on pothole and pavement repair, £25,000 on community safety hubs, and £50,000 to create a citizens’ assembly on climate change, biodiversity and sustainability.

It proposed funding the extra spending through the use of reserves plus a £2m saving on senior management and other staff costs. The amendment also proposed an extra £92m of capital spending to provide 1,000 new social-rent homes.

Labour leader Barry Rawlings said the government’s £150 council tax rebate would not be enough to address a “cost of living crisis” caused by rising inflation and higher National Insurance contributions, which he said would have a “devastating effect on local people”.

Cllr Rawlings said council tax increases hit those on low and middle incomes the hardest, and the Labour proposal to refund the 1% rise in the social care precept would give £2m back to residents.

He added: “A Labour council in Barnet will prioritise the things people care about; community safety, tackling environmental neglect and the climate emergency, protecting services for the vulnerable and helping residents with the cost of living crisis.”

Liberal Democrat leader Gabriel Rozenberg described the Conservative budget as “cynical” and “political”, adding that it was “misleading” for the Tories to claim council tax would be frozen when the social care precept was set to rise.

He added: “We see this budget as a missed opportunity to bring back brown bins, increase the sustainability of the borough, make progress with active transport, invest in our highways [and] build a real cycling network.”

Responding to the opposition comments, Cllr Thomas said Labour’s planned £2m saving on staff cuts was “vague” and described their proposals as a “fantasy budget”.

After criticising the records of Labour-run London boroughs, he added that he was proud of what his administration had achieved during the last four years and that he looked forward to delivering a “positive budget”.

Following the debate, the Labour budget amendment was voted down by Conservative and Liberal Democrat councillors. The administration’s budget was then approved, with Labour and the Liberal Democrats voting against.