Hampshire County Council reveals how much council tax it plans to charge its residents
THE county council’s share of council tax is set to rise by 2.99%, as civic chiefs look to again bridge the gap left by government funding cuts.
If approved, this will see taxpayers living in Band D homes in the Hampshire County Council area shelling out £1,236.87 to the authority during the 2019/20 financial year – up from £1,200.96 in 2018/19. This sum is added to by charges from borough and district councils, the police and fire and in some areas parish councils.
The increase will generate around £18m for the county council, which will aid its bid to save another £80m by 2021.
The county council imposes the lion’s share of tax in Hampshire, but does not include Southampton and Portsmouth as these are unitary authorities.
Last year the county council's share of tax rose 5.99 per cent, after the government allowed councils that funded social care to ask residents for more of a contribution.
However the authority says that since government cuts began 10 years ago, it has had to slash around £480m from its budget, but will need to cut even more to reach £560m in three years’ time.
Nevertheless, despite the cuts, Westminster has announced that the authority will get several one-off grants, including £4.8m for adult social care, and £8.1m for children’s services.
Despite seeming significant, Rob Carr, head of finance for the council, says the funding “falls far short of the amount required”.
The tax hike will now go through the authority’s cabinet and full council meetings next month seeking approval.
Leader of the council Councillor Roy Perry said: ‘The proposed 2.99 per cent increase is much lower than last year’s increase and will probably mean Hampshire will once again levy the second lowest council tax of any county council in the country.
‘The county council, by careful forward planning and shrewd use of reserves, seeks to minimise reductions to front line services during these challenging financial times whilst maintaining council tax at one of the lowest levels in the country.’