TaxPayers’ Alliance criticises proposed hike in Portsmouth council tax bills

Mutiny Festival brought over �2m to the local economy Picture: Paul Windsor

Mutiny Festival brings £2.7m into Portsmouth economy

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TAX campaigners have hit out at Portsmouth City Council’s bid to claw back more money.

The TaxPayers’ Alliance says the authority should be doing more to ‘root out waste’ and reduce ‘non-essential’ spending before turning to the public for help.

TaxPayers’ Alliance chief executive Jonathan Isaby said: ‘It’s disappointing to see that residents may be asked to plug gaps in council finances with a huge tax hike, instead of the council working to reduce spending.

‘Taxpayers already pay hefty bills and any further increases will put big pressure on their family budgets.

‘It’s crucial that local authorities do what they can to root out waste and scrap non-essential spending before asking taxpayers for even more cash.’

Meanwhile, Fareham residents could see their council tax rise by two per cent next year – unless the government provides a grant like in recent years to encourage bills to be frozen.

Fareham Borough Council leader Sean Woodward said: ‘If it isn’t offered to us, then we would be putting council tax up two per cent.

‘There are a lot of pressures.

‘But we spend on services in Fareham £45m a year. Council tax only raises £5m of that.

‘So when people talk about what their council tax goes on, it is only equivalent to 10 per cent on spending on Fareham Borough Council.’

But Cllr Woodward said there’s a big strain on adult social care and Hampshire County Council is spending around £1m a day providing the service.

The proposed four per cent Portsmouth council tax increase is being put to residents in a yes/no-style question as part of a consultation over the move.

It reads:

n The council is already proposing to increase its council tax by two per cent, to protect local services from government cuts.

‘Would you be prepared to accept an additional two per cent increase specifically to support adult social care services for our most vulnerable residents?’

Residents can respond by searching for ‘council tax consultation’ at portsmouth.gov.uk