THE leader of Hampshire County Council says the government will back the authority for freezing its tax for the past five years.
Councillor Roy Perry, pictured, quizzed local government minister Kris Hopkins over worries about what will happen when the council tax freeze grant – given to authorities that agree to freeze their portion of the tax – ceases.
Although this year’s budget has not been set, the council’s cabinet has asked officers to prepare it with on the assumption the tax will be frozen again.
The budget will go before the cabinet on February 6 and for rubber stamping at full council on February 19.
The council tax freeze grant is worth the equivalent of a one per cent increase in council tax. In Hampshire that is £5m.
Cllr Perry welcomed the minister’s assurances that funding would be built into the council’s future funding.
He said: ‘If the funding was lost, we would have to find a further £20m savings, which would be extremely difficult, given we’re already having to find £100m savings to balance the budget by 2017/18.’
Mr Hopkins praised Hampshire’s ongoing freeze at a time when householders were having to tighten their belts.
He said government and local authorities had a responsibility to make sure that they reduced the burden on residents.