COUNCIL tax is set for a continuous rise over the next few years to help offset crippling £140m cuts.
Hampshire County Council says residents – not including those in Portsmouth – can expect to see their contribution to the local authority to continue to rise each year to 2020.
The authority’s cabinet are to meet next Monday to discuss radical proposals to shave tens of millions off the budget in order to balance it by 2019.
Council tax for Hampshire residents was raised by 3.99 per cent last year and is set to rise by an extra one per cent next year. It will currently rise again by 1.99 per cent in 2019.
According to papers released by the council, a referendum on increasing tax beyond the government threshold has been ruled out.
This would have led to an increase of just under 30 per cent to bridge the gap in the budget and would have cost £1.5m.
Increases in council tax, in line with the Government policy, will have to play an important role in helping to contribute towards balancing the budget.
Councillor Roy Perry, the authority’s Conservative leader, said: ‘Increases in council tax, in line with the government policy, will have to play an important role in helping to contribute towards balancing the budget.
‘Residents have told us they understand the need for this and that they are prepared to pay a bit more.’
To gather views on increasing the council tax, the authority held a public consultation in which the tax was one of the preferred options for balancing the budget.
Cllr Perry and the rest of his cabinet have been asked to sign off on the cuts at the meeting.
They will involve savings across the board with up to 684 full-time jobs at risk.
These range from the scrapping of up to half of the council’s household waste recycling centres to cancelling home to school transport for 16+ pupils with learning disabilities.
Adult health and social care is set to take the biggest hit with £55.9m to be shaved from its budget over the next few years.
As previously reported in The News, the drastic cuts will lead to a total of £480m saved by the authority over the last 11 years.
Cllr Perry said: ‘With our revenue support grant from government soon coming to an end, together with rising inflation and significant increases in the number of elderly people, younger adults and children needing care – the pressures are mounting.
‘Whilst this latest round of efficiencies and savings represents an immense challenge, Hampshire is as well-placed as any council, better than most, to tackle the task, highlighted by our strong track record.
‘We remain in a strong financial position and continue to deliver some of the best public services to residents.’
A final decision will be made at full council on November 2.