COUNCIL tax is earmarked to rise across Hampshire by 2.99 per cent, as civic chiefs look to again bridge the gap left by government funding cuts.

If approved, this will see taxpayers living in Band D homes shelling out £1,236.87 during the 2019/20 financial year – up from £1,200.96 in 2018/19.

This will generate around £18 million in revenue for the authority, which will aid its bid to save another £80 million by 2021.

Last year council tax rose 5.99 per cent, after central government allowed councils that funded social care to ask residents for more of a contribution.

However, the authority says that since government cuts began ten years ago, it has had to slash around £480 million from its budget, but will need to cut even more to reach £560 million in three years' time.

Nevertheless, despite the cuts, Westminster has announced that the authority will get several one-off grants, including £4.8 million for adults social care, and £8.1 million for children’s services.

Despite seeming significant, Rob Carr, head of finance for the council, says the funding “falls far short of the amount required”.

The tax hike will now go through the authority’s cabinet and full council meetings next month seeking approval.

Leader of the council, Councillor Roy Perry said: “This is in line with the county council’s careful forward financial planning which is key to protecting services for Hampshire residents, particularly those for the most vulnerable in our communities, and especially children in our care and the ever increasing number of elderly.

“The proposed 2.99 per cent increase is much lower than last year’s increase and will probably mean Hampshire will once again levy the second lowest council tax of any county council in the country.

“Increased demands on services mean that our planned savings programme needs to deliver £140 million by April this year.

“The county council, by careful forward planning and shrewd use of reserves, seeks to minimise reductions to frontline services during these challenging financial times whilst maintaining council tax at one of the lowest levels in the country.”