No council tax rise for third year in Havant

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COUNCIL tax has been frozen for Havant residents for the third year.

Those in a band D property will pay £192.78 – the same proportion of the council tax share to the borough since April 2009.

Despite a 23 per cent cut in the government support grant to the council, some careful accounting and sharing of services with East Hampshire District Council has led to more than £1.2m in savings in the past year.

And there have also been no cuts in services, unlike other councils in the area.

Councillor Tony Briggs, leader of the council, said: ‘We took the view two years ago to go for a zero increase for the following three years.

‘We put in place efficiencies and measures to save money. Clearly the partnership with East Hampshire is a part of that.

‘We’re talking to three other authorities about where partnership working can take us. Bringing all of those things together has got us in a position where we have been able to absorb the reduction in the government support grant.

‘Certainly for next year and the year after there will be more efficiency savings through partnership working with the private sector. We have been thinking ahead, we have been very prudent and we have managed to get ourselves in this position.’

He added: ‘There may be staff reductions but in the main those will be natural, such as retirements. We’re not looking for wholesale redundancies like other authorities.’

Over the past year the council’s management team has merged with that at East Hampshire, saving £385,000.

Payroll and computer services have been taken up with Hampshire County Council and revenues and benefits and customer services have been outsourced to Capita.

Councillor Faith Ponsonby, of the Havant Liberal Democrats, said: ‘We’re happy for any financial help to our residents provided support to community and young people’s groups is not hit. To a certain extent one has to congratulate the cabinet for getting all this in place.’

The borough’s full council meeting will take place on February 23.