COUNCIL tax is set to be frozen by town hall bosses for the sixth time in a row - but a Greater Manchester mayoral precept will raise residents' bills.

The plans will go before the local authority's cabinet on Thursday, February 21 before a full council meeting in March.

It is expected 97 per cent of councils in England plan to increase council tax as Wigan pledges to freeze it again.

The introduction of Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham's precept, which pays for support in the region such as police and transport services, will increase.

The cost of the precept has not yet been confirmed.

The council said it does not need to cut more frontline services to make a £160m saving by 2020 and has praised its community led scheme The Deal in meeting its targets.

Leader of the council, Cllr David Molyneux, said: “We could have increased council tax but we have chosen not to. We understand we are among a handful of councils choosing not to increase it.

“This is despite us being the third worst affected authority by government cuts in 2010.

“We faced up to our challenges. The Deal has radically changed the way we deliver services and it will help us maintain a secure financial position in the future.

“I want to thank our residents for embracing it, for recycling, volunteering, and for helping to transform our borough. We would not be in this position without them.

“While we’re doing as much as we can it is absolutely vital that residents do their bit to support us too. People need to get behind the borough and spend the Wigan pound.

“For example we need people to take up the offer of free weekend parking. We can put these initiatives in place but they will only be successful if people get behind them.

“When we were first hit with austerity we set out our strategy and made a long-term plan for achieving our savings while improving services.

“Compared to many councils across the country we are now in the unique position of not having to make any further cuts to our frontline services.

“However this does not mean that we do not have any challenges ahead of us.

“There are still significant risks of financial pressure particularly from the areas of adult social care and children’s services. We have the fastest growing ageing population in Greater Manchester.”

A further £19.2m will need to be saved by the council in the next three years.

In September last year the council launched The Big Listening Project to ask residents what they would like the borough to look like in 2030.

More than 6,000 people took part in the consultation and this feedback is now being used to develop The Deal 2030 which will be the borough’s strategy for the next 10 years.

Cllr Molyneux added: “Through The Big Listening Project we wanted to have honest conversations with people about what they thought was a priority for the future and how it could be achieved.

"We spoke to more than 6,000 people about what they wanted.

“The Deal 2030 strategy has genuinely been shaped by what we heard from residents, businesses and communities and we want to continue to work together to make our borough a better place.”