Devon County Council’s share of council tax is likely to rise by almost three per cent next year.

Like this year, Conservative leader John Hart says he is “expecting” to be able to put it up by 1.99 per cent with an extra one per cent added on for adult social care.

The combined potential increase – the maximum local authorities were able to raise council tax by this year without holding a referendum – falls well below the rate of inflation but would mean an added cost pressure for households.

Increasing demand in Devon for adult and children’s services is also putting further strain on council finances, with Cllr Hart warning the combined 2.99 per cent rise “will not start to fill the gap that we’ve got in front of us.”

The authority is predicting a budget shortfall of £75 million in the next financial year and warns it will have to make deep cuts to non-statutory services if the government fails to provide more money.

“Either we have to have genuine government support, or we’re going to have to reduce some of what we do,” Cllr Hart said, adding: “It is a very serious position that we’re in. But we are not an isolator. This is true with all local government.”

He also ruled out holding a referendum on putting up council tax by more than is allowed by the government, admitting: “Nobody would ever win a referendum saying ‘can you put up council tax?’ Not at our kind of level.”

According to the House of Commons library, only one council tax referendum has taken place to date.

Bedfordshire’s former police and crime commissioner, Olly Martins, proposed a 15.8% increase in council tax for 2015/16, but it was rejected by almost 70 per cent of voters.

Devon’s ruling cabinet will put forward its target budget in December, including its proposed council tax rise, which will then be finalised in February subject to councillors’ approval.

A government spokesperson recently said: “We have made an additional £3.7 billion available to councils this year in recognition of their vital role. This includes an additional £40 million for Devon County Council to ensure they are able to deliver key services.”