Extra cash in East Hampshire District Council’s bid for independence

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A COUNCIL has benefited from better-than-expected financial performance meaning there is an extra £2m in the coffers.

East Hampshire District Council’s leader Ferris Cowper has spoken of his vision for the authority to be independent from central government grants within five years.

He also hopes to freeze council tax for the foreseeable future.

The £2m has come from planning applications, land charges, property rental income and the collection of overpaid housing income.

Cllr Ferris said it will be used to strengthen the council’s commercial property portfolio and build a fund to invest in new services, such as legal work, which can be used to generate business income.

He said: ‘Some £3m to £5m per annum of government grant will disappear from our income over the next five years and surpluses such as this allow us to invest in order to close the gap in income without cutting services. Our income has gone up as the economy has improved and we are also reaping the benefits of our prudent financial decisions.’