Hertfordshire County Council leaders could seek new powers to increase council tax as they try to save another £90million.

Councils are currently permitted to increase the tax by a limited amount, which next year (2020/21) will be 1.99 per cent.

If they want to raise it further they would need the backing of a local referendum.

But now, the council has indicated it will lobby the government to ask for greater local powers.

It pointed to a survey suggesting most residents would rather see council tax increased than services cut.

Estimates suggest for every additional one per cent the council was allowed to levy, it would generate an extra £6 million.

Meanwhile the county council will also continue to make the case to central government for improved funding.

The actions are part of a package of measures that will be considered to meet the rising costs and demands for vital council services.

And they were included in a report on the county council’s ‘financial outlook’ that was considered by the council’s cabinet last Monday.

The report highlights a consultation – conducted in this year’s budget process – that suggests residents would support a  council tax increase, rather than see services cut.

It indicates that  the county council may consider increasing council tax to protect services.

“The council will look to lobby central government and to request greater local determination of council tax levels,” says the report to the cabinet.

“This is in line with the recent Integrated Plan consultation, that showed that support for council tax increase rather than service cuts had increased by 10 per cent, from 57 per cent to 67 per cent, since 2016.”

Currently the county council element of the council tax for a Band D property in Hertfordshire is just above £1,300 a year.

Other similar county councils charge between £1,200 and just over £1,400.

Meanwhile the report also outlines plans for departments across the council to review what can be done more efficiently – whether by using technology, reducing accommodation costs, increasing commercialism or investing in the ‘transformation’ of services to make savings.