Hampshire’s fire service freezes council tax once again

Police outside student accommodation in Stanhope Road, Portsmouth on Friday Picture Ben Fishwick

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HOUSEHOLDERS in Hampshire will continue to pay the same amount for fire and rescue services.

Hampshire Fire and Rescue Authority has agreed a budget which will see its portion of council tax frozen for the third successive year.

The £2m of savings made by the authority last year means council tax will remain the same despite further government grant cuts.

For a Band D property, the council tax is £61.38 a year – equivalent to £1.18 per week.

Officials said this remains one of the lowest fire and rescue service rates in England.

Although council tax has been frozen, the amount the authority will receive from it will actually fall due to the government’s changes to the council tax benefit system.

The budget for providing fire and rescue services to Hampshire for the next financial year will be £67.5 million.

This is a 4.3 per cent fall from last year.

Councillor Royston Smith, authority chairman, said: ‘With the continuing pressure on household budgets I am delighted that the authority has been able to set a budget that means no increase in our portion of the council tax for the third year running.

‘Thanks to careful financial planning, we successfully made savings of £2 million last year, with a further savings of £4m of saving planned over the next two years.’

He added: ‘We will continue to review how our services are delivered to make Hampshire safer.’