Hampshire County Council's cabinet sign off on £140m cuts - but £1 tip charge may save centres

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A COUNCIL's cabinet have given the green light for £140m cuts to services - however, some could be saved by a helping hand from central government.

With millions being shaved from the budgets of children's, adult social care and transport services, Hampshire County Council are set to explore alternative means of keeping all of its household waste recycling centres (HWRC), community transport and school cross patrols going without being affected.

A last-minute amendment at this morning's meeting in Winchester implores council staff to find alternative means of balancing the budget and keeping the services open.

The authority's current proposal will see 13 of the council's 26 HWRCs close in order to save £1.2m.

It was proposed at the meeting that a nominal charge of £1 per visit could be introduced in order to help keep all 26 centres open.

Current government legislation means that authorities cannot charge for visits but council officers are pushing for Hampshire to be the subject of a pilot scheme.

Councillor Rob Humby said at the meeting: 'We have been lobbying the government on this to allow us to bring forward a pilot scheme for the area.

'We understand that policy changes can take a long time but running pilots, such as one in Hampshire, could show the way forward on this.'

It was also confirmed at the meeting that council tax will rise continuously up until 2020, with a potential referendum on increasing it past the government limit ruled out.

Up to 648 full-time jobs are at risk due to the cuts which will mean the authority has saved £480m over the last decade.

The final decision will go to full council which meets next month.