COUNCIL tax has been frozen for the fifth year in Fareham.
Councillors decided to keep council tax rates at the same level at a meeting of the full council.
The Leader of Fareham Borough Council put forward a budget which promises to deliver all services at a cost equivalent to a decade ago.
The proposal was agreed upon unanimously by councillors.
Leader of Fareham Borough Council Councillor Sean Woodward said: ‘It has always been a priority of this administration to minimise the tax burden on Fareham residents where possible, and for 10 successive years, we have been able to offer council tax increases at a rate below inflation, thereby reducing the cost in real terms over that period.
‘And of course the council tax for the past four years was frozen; a very real and tangible benefit to each and every taxpayer when they needed it most.’
The council tax will remain at the same level – for example council tax in band D remains at £140.22.
The Police and Crime Commissioner has raised its element, meaning that overall people will pay 0.4 per cent more. The Fareham Independent Group was concerned about future financial problems. Independent Cllr Nick Gregory said: ‘No increase in council tax may feel like a good move, however, we have serious concerns about how we can continue to do this.
‘We do support this budget but we recognise the pressures that could be brought on to this council from government in the future.’
An amendment to the budget was put forward by the Liberal Democrats which would see Fareham Borough Council seek assistance from central government under the Sustainable Communities Act. This amendment was withdrawn and will be re-proposed as a motion so that the council can consider it in more depth at a later meeting.
Leader of the Liberal Democrats, Councillor Jim Forrest, said: ‘I am encouraged by this because the council listened to what we had to say and we will bring this forward again in more detail in due course.’
Tory Councillor Peter Davies said: ‘This is my 27th council tax meeting and they all say how difficult times are. I think Councillor Woodward has done a good job.’
Cllr Woodward added: ‘I do know that this budget is the envy of many local authorities.’