Penryn taxpayers WILL face a 5.9 per cent tax hike - equivalent to £4.91 for a band D property - unless a local referendum has to be called.

The town council confirmed the decision at a budget meeting on Monday, where councillors voted unanimously in favour of a rise in the precept.

Mayor Gill Grant said: “Really in the past we have not put the precept up enough to do what we do.”

Councillor Martin Mullins added: “We have to have an increase to maintain our current [financial] situation.”

In the budget presentation, town clerk Michelle Davey said the estimated income and expenditure for the next financial year was “in most cases” calculated “by increasing the amount by five per cent for inflation.”

Councillor John Langan questioned the use of this five per cent figure as the inflation rate for October was 3.2 per cent, he said.

Miss Davey said she had to be “pragmatic” and “prudent” with her calculations.

“At the end of the year, if increased costs are lower than expected that will bring a ‘carried forward’ figure which will be taken in next year’s budget and it gets adjusted in that way,” she said.

It is still unclear whether an increase in council tax of more than two per cent will force a referendum, as announced by Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne earlier this year.

The precept, which the town council levies alongside other authorities like the police, is only a part of the total council tax residents pay.