Watchdog approves council’s strategy

Chancellor Philip Hammond holding his red ministerial box outside 11 Downing Street, London, before heading to the House of Commons to deliver his Budget

City Labour MP slams budget for ‘failing Portsmouth’

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A CLEAN bill of health has been given to Hampshire County Council for the way it is managing public funds.

The authority was examined by the Audit Commission on whether it is giving taxpayers value for money.

The watchdog endorsed the county council’s approach to securing budget efficiencies and delivering on a £100m savings target while maintaining the quality of services.

There were no areas requiring action or improvement.

The Audit Commission’s profile shows that the county council’s spend per head of population is in the lowest five per cent of all county councils, while it has one of the lowest council taxes.

It also notes that Hampshire has good levels of school provision and is in the highest 25 per cent for level of attainment by children, including those with special needs.

County leader Ken Thornber said: ‘It’s very good news to receive external validation again for the way we are tackling the cuts to public sector funding while maintaining the quality of services and at the lowest cost to the council tax payer. Our transformation programme is not just about achieving the £100m savings over two years, but laying the ground for investment for the future.’