Leader hits out over public sector ‘handouts’

Cllr Ferris Cowper
Cllr Ferris Cowper

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A LEADER of a council that is the only authority in the country slashing its council tax has criticised public sector ‘handouts’.

Ferris Cowper, leader of East Hampshire council, made the comments to the Press Association.

As reported by The News, the council is the only one in the country to cut council tax, while 90 per cent of authorities are increasing the levy in 2017/18.

Cllr Cowper, leader of East Hampshire council, said: ‘Why is it that the public sector feels it has to have handouts from the government?

‘Why does the public sector feel it has to levy a tax on people?

‘Why can’t it break the mould, think completely outside the box, and work out ways in which public services can be wholly or partly funded from other sources of income and not through handouts and not through taxation?

‘I really hope that what we’re doing here gives the government a real head-scratching problem to solve. I want them to start noticing that there is a completely different way of running the public sector, we are trying it out, and maybe to look upon us as a proof of concept model.’

The council decided last night to slash council tax by 2.6 per cent this year.

All other council tax rates in the area have increased.

Hampshire police and crime commissioner Michael Lane increased the precept to fund the force.