Police authority council tax freeze closer

CCTV released after woman’s bag is stolen

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COUNCIL taxpayers will not be charged extra for policing in the area.

Hampshire Police Authority’s finance committee yesterday agreed to recommend its council tax precept being frozen for the next financial year – despite facing massive government spending cuts.

It means the average resident in a band D property in the area will continue to pay £146.25 a year for policing.

Committee members also agreed a £314,096 budget for Hampshire Constabulary in 2010/11. It marks a 5.14 per cent cut in real terms after the force’s general government grant was cut by £11.502m.

The force will receive an extra £2.505m grant if its council tax precept does not rise. But its other government grant has been cut by £8.848m – meaning Hampshire Constabulary must save £20m in 2011/12.

Adrian Collett, finance committee chairman, said: ‘I don’t think any of us are happy with the budget reduction we are being required to find. It throws up a lot of tough challenges, but I am increasingly confident that we will come out of this with a good, high-performing constabulary.’

Deputy chairman, Fareham Borough Council leader, councillor Sean Woodward, said: ‘I welcome setting a council tax precept that’s unchanged from last year and I’m delighted that will be reflected right across Hampshire, not just in local government but in the fire service as well.

‘I am more pessimistic about our ability to fund all of the savings we need.’ A final decision on council tax will be made at a full police authority meeting on Monday.