TEMPERS were fraught at the town hall as councillors agreed to reduce council tax by 3.75 per cent.
The measure will see a band D household's tax reduced to £781.34, a cut of £30.44, which the authority claim to be one of the lowest tax bills in the country.
Whilst debating the budget, opposition councillors praised the drop but said it did nothing but mask £23million worth of stealth taxes which would affect the borough's most vulnerable residents.
Labour leader Stephen Cowan initially commended his conservative counterpart on his six-year-tenure before launching an attack on Stephen Greenhalgh's budget claiming it was nothing but 'smoke and mirrors' as groups such as the elderly, poor and disabled would feel the effects of cuts to services such as Meals on Wheels, child care and drug intervention programmes.
The leader of the opposition, said: "These are dark times, we know that. We can see the economic situation but with this budget we're making it worse for many of the people we're supposed to protect.
"There are always massive cuts putting children, the poor, the elderly, the homeless at risk - the people that often don't know their rights.
"You're cutting services for some of the most vulnerable people around and introducing stealth taxes. How can you seriously talk about cutting tax when you're adding on other taxes. It's a disgrace."
The council says its central government grant will reduce by a further 7.7 per cent this year and it needs to shave £48m from its budget over the next three years.
Most of the cuts, it claims, are coming from the tri-borough scheme which will reduce management and overhead costs by 50 per cent, a saving of £33m by 2014/15.
The council also came under fire for selling off council buildings and being too 'friendly' with developers.
Mr Greenhalgh dismissed the claims, saying he was proud to be delivering the budget to residents and that relationships with private developers were 'entirely proper'.
He said: "I resent the claims that it comes at the at the cost of the vulnerable and the poor. We have one of the widest safety nets in London and services like Meals on Wheels are dying out because users have access to microwaves so can provide themselves with better meals than we could so are choosing not to use it.
"We have transferred our council into one that delivers high quality service at the lowest cost to the tax payer. We have the lowest levels of council tax, not just in London but in the country and I’m so delighted.
"At least we have the bravery to stick with our convictions. I'm proud that one planning application voted through last week, the Westfield expansion, will bring more jobs, homes and millions of pounds of capital into an area that needs it."