Residents will be expected to pay more council tax from April, councillors have agreed.

The borough council is proposing to raise its council tax under the budget for the next financial year.

In order to protect the front-line services, and remain in a stable financial position, an increase in council tax by £5 for an average band D property, to £163.91, for 2024/25 is being recommended.

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This is a rise of 3.14 per cent, and below current inflation levels.

To protect its most vulnerable residents, the Council recently approved its Council Tax Support scheme, for low-income households, to minimise the impact of the proposed increase.

Councillors discussed the budget and council tax proposals at a cabinet meeting held on Wednesday, February 28.

Cllr Maureen Flood said: "There has been increasing pressure on local council finance in recent years and you'll all be aware of several section 114 notices which have been issued.

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"This council is not immune to the challenges faced by the sector but I will start by saying Test Valley Borough Council is in a very stable position compared to lots of other councils.

"The medium term financial strategy made an assumption that our council tax charge would increase by £5 per year per property and that is the recommendation that I put to you.

"This means the annual charge for a Band D property will increase to £163.91. Sustaining income from council tax ensures we remain in a financially secure position and protects the vital frontline services we provide to the people of Test Valley."

The budget was considered at a full council meeting held on Thursday, February 29 after being brought in and seconded by Cllr Maureen Flood and Cllr Nick Adams-King.

The budget recommended is balanced and does not need to draw from reserves to cover ongoing costs, as a result of sustained efforts to control costs and from continued income from our property and cash investments.

During debate, councillors expressed concern regarding The Andover Special Expenses Levy, which Cllr Gregori called 'unfair' on residents in Andover.

Cllr Adams-King responded by saying the levy is in place to pay for services that are provided in and around Andover by Test Valley Borough Council, adding that no approach to provide those services in Andover had been made by Andover Town Council.

A recorded vote was carried out on the council tax resolution, with the motion passed with 19 votes for, two against and 11 abstentions.