Conservative controlled Hart Council plans to put up its council tax bills by only 2½ per cent in April.

The lower than inflation rise is partly due to the council's rebellion against scores of Government so-called "initiatives".

Coun Sean Holden, cabinet member for communications, said yesterday (Wednesday) that many of the Whitehall edicts were a waste of money.

Those which did not carry a legal obligation for adoption had been ditched by the council, he added.

"We have redirected the money to areas where it can be spent more efficiently," said Coun Holden.

He added that council services would be enhanced as a result of the improved housekeeping.

The council's budget, on which the tax rise is based, is due to be debated at a full council meeting tonight (Thursday).

It will then be ratified at a further meeting of the council on February 27.

The rise will be added to Hampshire County Council's tax increase which is expected to be considerably more than Hart's.