SOME rural communities could be hard pressed to take up any services cut back by charities, larger councils or the Government because they have levied such low taxes in the past, thinks the chief executive of the Hampshire Association of Local Councils (HALC).

Speaking at a meeting of Andover Town Council, HALC boss Steven Lugg said that as a result of localism, local councils in Hampshire are facing the biggest shake-up since their creation in 1894 but the changes coincided with the biggest financial crisis in modern times.

He said: “It is a time of change but not one of unlimited cash so we need to spend money effectively – we can’t keep spending more than we bring in.”

The bigger councils are inevitably cutting back on discretionary quality of life aspects of their spending as they concentrate on their statutory duties, he believes.

He added: “There are more things to do and more opportunities but small rural parishes have been historically underfunded and it is not a popular thing to do to put council taxes up.”

He said that in such cases it is for local communities to decide what they want from their local council – little or lots.