A parliamentary candidate has called on authorities to keep council tax “as low as possible” after a draft budget was put out to consultation.

Jack Rankin, the Conservative candidate for Windsor at the next general election, described council tax as “regressive” and urged councils to prioritise residents’ finances in their decisions.

It comes as the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead’s draft budget, which includes a 4.99 per cent council tax rise, goes out to consultation.

He told the Local Democracy Reporting Service: “The economic situation for local authorities is challenging, we have seen this nationally, but it is important that we continue to prioritise household finances, particularly for the poorest residents.

“Keeping council tax as low as possible is a moral imperative, given its drastically regressive nature. That said, it is likely necessary that council tax rises as proposed this year.”

Mr Rankin, who previously served as an RBWM councillor, added that he has “concerns” about proposed increases in on-street parking permit prices.

Two options of changes to permit charges are also out to consultation at present. Option A would see charges for first, second and third permits increase, while Option B sees first permit prices frozen but a more drastic increase on second and third.

He described the proposals as “deeply regressive” that would impact on those without off-street parking.

However, a council officers’ report considered by cabinet around the draft budget claimed that historically low council tax levels – as well as high inflation and interest rates – were among the key financial pressures facing the council.

RBWM finance lead councillor Lynne Jones told cabinet on December 13: “Our officers told us in September that we are at risk of being financially unsustainable. It is within this financial landscape that we have had to produce a balanced draft budget.

“This has been more challenging, due to not having a realistic baseline. The inherited budget set for 2023/24 was proven to be non-realistic and undeliverable almost immediately.”

The council’s transport lead councillor Geoff Hill previously said: "The council is facing serious financial challenges, and Cabinet is fully focused on taking the actions needed to set the organisation onto a secure financial footing.

“I encourage people to engage with the consultation and to share their views, in particular around the options on resident parking permits.”

Anyone who wishes to respond to the consultations on the draft budget and parking permit charges can do so on RBWM’s website.

The two consultations close on January 22 and January 1 respectively.