Council tax could freeze for fourth year running

THE council tax for Hampshire County Council’s services, which is among the lowest of all county councils in England, is likely to be frozen at the same level for the fourth year running as the council develops its 2013/14 budget.

This is despite Hampshire receiving one of the lowest grants per head of population from Government and a 43 per cent cut in grants over four years – the biggest reduction compared to other counties.

Hampshire County Council took early action to respond to the national deficit reduction programme, achieving savings of £100million over the last two years.

Future funding challenges are expected to be even tougher from 2015/16.

The council says it will now use the next two years to further develop ways of working, transforming the way some services are delivered to make them more sustainable so that Hampshire residents can, they claim, continue to receive the quality services they need at the lowest costs.

All council services, from social care to roads, transport, education, libraries and countryside, are now having to find efficiencies that will reduce their budgets by two per cent to help meet the major pressures in some areas.

The leader of the council, Ken Thornber, has expressed his wish to ensure that older people, children and other disadvantaged groups continue to be protected.

Mr Thornber added: “As we continue to drive out further efficiencies and deliver quality services at the lowest cost, it puts us in a strong position to lay the ground for future investment, so our focus is not just on efficiency, but also on economic growth and improvement to protect Hampshire’s future.”

If council tax is frozen, the county element of the Band D tax would be £1,037.88.

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