East Hampshire to become ‘council tax free’ by 2022 vows leader

FERRIS COWPER (JW) MRW 16/05/2013 

Ferris Cowper (63) - Leader of East Hampshire District Council 

Picture: Malcolm Wells (160513-1137) ENGPPP00720130517114030
FERRIS COWPER (JW) MRW 16/05/2013 Ferris Cowper (63) - Leader of East Hampshire District Council Picture: Malcolm Wells (160513-1137) ENGPPP00720130517114030
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EAST Hampshire will become a ‘council tax free’ zone by 2022, says the leader of the district council.

Councillor Ferris Cowper believes the authority will have the luxury of not having to charge residents because of its shrewd property investment strategy.

And he says the council is also raking in cash selling services to other authorities.

It comes after East Hampshire District Council decided last night to slash council tax by 2.6 per cent this year, the only authority in the country to be cutting instead of reducing the rate or setting a freeze.

Though the council is not responsible for social care, a reason many other councils with that responsibility are being forced to hike up taxes so they can cover costs.

When asked in a radio interview if East Hampshire has the ability to abolish council tax entirely, Cllr Cowper said: ‘We have just done our five year forecasts. One of the things we have to be sure of, is when all the government money runs out in 2019/2020, when it all goes to zero, then, when we build on that momentum - we are building up these new services and investment strategies - we think, when does this end?

‘And we have discovered, two years after that, we don’t need to levy any council tax, at all.’

It comes after Portsmouth City Council voted through a 4.99 per cent rise in tax bills - with three per cent going on covering social care bills.