CONCERNS have been raised after a council raised its tax above inflation for the third time in three years.
During a full council meeting last night, Fareham Borough Council approved a rise in council tax that will mean a £5 increase for a band D property.
Despite supporting the budget as a whole, opposition leader Councillor Roger Price had concerns about the tax increase.
Cllr Price said: ‘This will be the third year in a row that the council has increased council tax beyond inflation.
‘Unfortunately residents’ incomes do not increase beyond inflation or indeed in some cases even inflation.
‘Therefore these increases could cause more people to get into arrears with their council tax payments.’
Deputy executive leader Councillor Trevor Cartwright presented the budget speech for 2018/19.
Cllr Cartwright said: ‘By far the biggest challenge is the continuing reduction in financial support from central government.
‘In 2009 funding from the central government and council tax payers was almost in equal proportion.
‘For the forthcoming financial year council tax payers will be providing nearly 80 per cent of the funding required to run our services.’
The increase comes after government support for the borough will end.
Cllr Cartwright added: ‘From 2018/19 we will be solely reliant on income from customers, business rates and council tax payers to fund our services.’
Independent councillor Jack Englefield did not support the council tax increase, saying: ‘We are asking residents who have not had a pay rise to pay more council tax.
‘We are giving money to foreign aid and I don’t believe we should be giving it to them and then asking our residents to pay more tax.’
The decision was approved, with 28 councillors for and one against.
In the same meeting a review by the Independent Remuneration Panel recommended an increase in members’ allowances and to halve the opposition leader’s allowance due to the number of members in the opposition party.
Cllr Englefield put forward an amendment to not change members’ allowances.
This was rejected, with 25 councillors against and four in favour, so the members’ increase was approved.