HAMPSHIRE County Council is recommending a council tax rise of 15 per cent "to make up losses in Government grant, in order to protect services and meet inescapable pressures."

The Government has redistributed funding from councils in the South East to urban councils in the North and Midlands despite extensive lobbying from Hampshire and other South East Counties.

The county says it emerged days ago that the grant loss is around £48 million over the next three years, over £3 million more than first thought.

The 15 per cent rise makes the county council's share of a band D council tax bill £844.56, an extra £2 per week.

The leader of Hampshire County Council, Coun. Ken Thornber, said: "As we have been warning, the Government has taken vital funding away from Hampshire. They have left us no choice but to make up the devastating £48 million shortfall and avoid having to make any service cuts.

"We are unfairly deemed a rich area with high earners that can afford to pay more tax."