Freeze in council tax for Gosport given green light

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage.

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GOSPORT residents will see a zero per cent increase in council tax after councillors agreed not to raise the tax.

The council tax freeze was recommended by the ruling Conservatives, and it was agreed by all parties at a full council meeting last night.

It is the second year in a row that Gosport Borough Council has frozen the cost of council tax for residents in the town.

It means that householders in an average Band D home will still be paying 202.81.

This will be added to tax charged by Hampshire County Council and the police and fire authorities.

Councillor Mark Hook, leader of the council, said: ‘The council tax we set tonight affects every household in Gosport.

‘As I have said before, the coalition government has been set one of the most demanding responsibilities in sorting out the financial mess the last labour government has left this country in.

‘So we braced ourselves for the massive reduction we were to see in the revenue support grant recognising the role we in Gosport will have to play in helping reduce this massive burden of debt.

‘We are adamant that we will protect front line services. With the new contracts in place we will ensure that our streets are cleaned, our bins emptied and our grass cut to a better standard than set under a previous labour administration and we will also deliver substantial financial savings to Gosport’s council tax payer.

‘Gosport’s residents expect us to act in a responsible manner in delivering a budget to meet their priority needs and especially so in these extraordinary and challenging times.’

A total budget of £10,707,590 for the coming year was agreed by a majority vote – around £2.2 million less than last year.

As reported in The News, the council have scrapped the £30,000 funding towards the town’s annual Waterfront Festival.

The council has also cut the funding for around 500 free amenity skips for residents – an issue that both Labour and the Lib Dems contested during the meeting.

Councillor Peter Chegwyn, leader of the Liberal Democrats, said: ‘This budget is a disaster for Gosport. There are over £2 million of cuts in services, many of them front line services which are greatly valued by the people of Gosport.’

Councillor Dennis Wright, leader of the Labour party in Gosport, said: ‘The reason we find ourselves in this mess is down to the coalition government.

‘These are cuts from central government and cuts to local services.’