Hampshire’s council tax not set to go up but ‘difficult decisions’ ahead

HMS Queen Elizabeth

Aircraft carrier project leaves defence budgets ‘exposed’, MPs warn

Have your say

HAMPSHIRE County Council is set to freeze its portion of the council tax for the fifth year running – despite large cuts to its government grant.

Councillors will meet over the coming weeks to discuss the budget for the next financial year.

The county’s portion of the council tax – paid by residents across Havant, Gosport, Fareham, Winchester and East Hampshire – would remain at £1,037.88-a-year for the average band D property.

Officials said this would remain the lowest bill in the south east.

The bill pays for highways, schools, adult services and children’s services.

The council is being forced to save more than £200m by 2015 and has already reduced its workforce by 1,700. Up to £93m will need to saved this year.

Leader Roy Perry said: ‘While it is inevitable that some services will need to reduce, we will be looking for investments that will deliver similar or better service levels with less money and unlock further efficiencies. Wherever possible, these will be about growth and further improvement, new ways to manage reducing funding and increasing demand.

‘The fact remains that with less money and fewer staff we can’t afford to deliver them in the same way. The county council is a complex and big business, covering over 300 different services, many of which are absolutely vital and there are other services that are discretionary so we have some very difficult decisions to consider.’