U-turn over severe cuts to authority’s grant is welcomed

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POLITICAL leaders have welcomed a U-turn on deep cuts to grants to local authorities – but say the financial struggle will continue.

Hampshire County Council is in line to receive an extra £9m from the government for the next two years.

It comes after the leader, Councillor Roy Perry, wrote to ministers in December after the authority was told a change in the funding formula would result in an unprecedented drop of £48m in its grant for the 2016/17 financial year.

Cllr Perry said: ‘I am very pleased the government has listened to us and allocated additional funding.

‘It is welcome as far as it goes.

‘Hampshire County Council is now in line to receive an additional £9m in each of the next two years, and we will be the second largest beneficiary in the country, after Surrey.

‘However, it is only transitional help for two years and the fact remains that we still have to find significant recurring efficiency savings in the years ahead.’

The authority, which oversees schools, roads and other public services outside Portsmouth and Southampton, is still considering increasing its share of the council tax by almost four per cent.