Council tax and rents to go up as Gosport Borough Council faces £1.7m budget black hole

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HOMEOWNERS will see their council tax and social housing rent go up in Gosport, as the council tightens its financial belt.

Gosport Borough Council, faced with an expected budget deficit of £1.7m by 2023/24, has voted to increase the council tax of band D properties in the town by £5 per year.

This is expected to generate around £100,000 for the council each year.

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Gosport Borough Council met to debate the budget last nightGosport Borough Council met to debate the budget last night
Gosport Borough Council met to debate the budget last night

Social housing rent will also increase from £77.91 per week to £80.02, with affordable rents also increasing from £143.71 to £147.60.

It comes as council funding from central government continues to fall, alongside other ‘inflationary costs’ such as pension increases.

The Conservatives say tough decisions have to be made because of this, but the budget proposal was criticised by the opposing Liberal Democrats.

Party leader Councillor Peter Chegwyn said: ‘The Conservatives are putting up council tax by the maximum amount, which is a big increase when many people are struggling to put food on the table.

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‘The budget deficit is a massive one for a small council like Gosport – we’re facing a financial crisis but I don't see any proposals on how to tackle it.

‘If I were in charge I would be reallocating resources, moving services like Citizens Advice into the Town Hall to save both them and us as much money as possible.’

The council has also allocated £110,000 for refurbishment work across the town.

This includes a real Christmas tree in Gosport High Street, new railings at Privett Park and a refurbished ‘Welcome To Gosport’ sign.

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A further £9,000 has been committed to putting new litter bins around the town.

Leader of Gosport Borough Council, Cllr Mark Hook, said: ‘As in the past we will not shy away from making and taking difficult decisions to ensure this council is at the forefront to meet the everyday demands to improve the quality of life for all our residents.

‘We will continue to take difficult decisions for the benefit of Gosport’s residents – and maintain our delivery of front-line services while offering value for money by driving down costs, not the quality of services.’

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