The leader of Enfield Council has accused the Government of dropping a £1.6 billion council tax “bombshell” on local authorities at a time of economic hardship.

Cllr Nesil Caliskan criticised a decision to allow council tax bills to rise by up to five per cent and called on ministers to “properly fund public services” that have been hit by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Last week’s spending review saw Chancellor Rishi Sunak announce town halls can increase core council tax bills by two per cent and a ringfenced levy to support adult social care by three per cent without holding a referendum.

The chancellor also pledged more than £3 billion of extra support to help councils deal with Covid-19 pressures next year.

But a statement co-signed by Cllr Caliskan and cabinet member for finance Cllr Mary Maguire claimed the spending review “hasn’t delivered”.

The councillors say: “The Government has failed to fully address the significant budgetary pressures councils face. We think Enfield’s residents deserve better.

“Instead of fully supporting people at this difficult time, the Government dropped a £1.6 billion council tax bombshell on us.

“Rather than asking Enfield residents to foot this bill at a time of economic hardship, the Government should start to properly fund our vital public services that so many of us rely on.

“In Enfield, where a third of the workforce is on furlough, 38,000 children are living in poverty and there has been a 164 per cent increase in unemployment since the coronavirus crisis began, there is a clear need for urgent investment into economic recovery.

“The Government’s funding settlement falls far short of what is needed to get our borough back on its feet.”

The total impact of Covid-19 on Enfield Council’s finances, including lost income as well as extra spending to tackle the pandemic, is estimated at £64 million.

Councillors decide whether to increase council tax when they set the annual budget. Any changes take effect from the beginning of April.

A spokesperson for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government said: “Councils have played a critical role during the pandemic, and we are ensuring they have the resources needed to deliver effective services for their communities.

“Next year, we’re giving councils access to an additional £2.2 billion to deliver services including social care and an estimated £3 billion of additional support for Covid-19 pressures. This takes the total support committed to councils in England to tackle the impacts of Covid-19 to over £10 billion.

“Enfield Council has already been allocated over £43.6 million of emergency funding, almost £30.9 million of which is non-ringfenced, and their core spending power also increased by £13.5 million this year.”