Third tax freeze for Gosport on the cards

Gosport MP welcomes plans on homelessness but admits ‘it’s a significant problem’

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GOSPORT’S Tory leader has said he will try to freeze council tax again next year.

It would be the third year running Gosport Borough Council sets a zero per cent increase in tax for the town’s residents.

Councillor Mark Hook’s pledge comes as a public spending watchdog has said the council gives taxpayers good value for money.

The Audit Commission praised tough decisions made by political leaders in the face of budget cuts this year.

Cllr Hook said: ‘Having made these very difficult decisions, which I applaud all councillors for doing, we have kept council tax at no increase for the past two years and still delivered services to the public.

‘It would certainly be my intention to try and do that again next year as well.’

But leader of Gosport’s Lib Dems, Cllr Peter Chegwyn, said the pledge was meaningless.

‘The government has already instructed every council in the country to keep council tax down next year,’ he said.

‘It’s completely meaningless. Any council that puts up the council tax will lose the same in government grants.’

In its annual report into the council’s finances, the Audit Commission has given town hall chiefs a stamp of approval.

However auditor Patrick Jarvis also warned that there were some significant weaknesses in the council’s internal controls, which could affect how officers record and process financial data.

Cllr Hook said new systems are being put into place to fix this.

Mr Jarvis said: ‘Officers and political leaders have taken tough decisions and acted promptly to address the financial challenges faced by the council.

‘It has made good progress in delivering savings.’