Hart set to choose council tax freezeBy Stephen Lloyd
February 07, 2013
HARD pressed residents are set for a welcome council tax freeze this year.
It comes as both Hart district and Hampshire county councils prepare to hold their shares of the bill from April.
Hart’s all-powerful cabinet was set to meet on Thursday to discuss the district’s share of the bill.
Councillors can either keep the district’s share of the council tax at £151.84 for an average Band D home or propose an increase.
Hart leader Ken Crookes said he is backing a council tax freeze.
“We are doing this and at the same time making no cuts to services and no cuts to our grants to the voluntary sector like the Citizens’ Advice Bureau,” he added.
“We have even managed some modest growth, investing in economic development and offering apprenticeships to young people.
“The council continues to deliver services within budget, building on the successful implementation of efficiencies and cost cutting over the last few years.”
Cllr Crookes said that over the past five years the council has worked hard to make Hart more efficient, cut costs and save money.
Tony Higgins, Hart’s head of finance, said the council will continue to receive £145,000 for the next two years as a result of its decision to levy a 0% council tax increase in 2011/12.
He added that the Government has since announced a further grant equivalent to a 1% increase in council tax (£60,000) for 2013/14 if there is no increase.
Hampshire County Council, which has made £100 million budget cuts over the past two years, also plans to freeze its share of the tax in return for a £5.3m government grant. If it does, the county tax bill for an average Band D home would be £1,037.88.
But residents in a Band D home will have to pay an extra £5 a year for their policing. Police and Crime Commissioner Simon Hayes said the increase was needed to invest in the force so that the county has enough manpower to ensure it stays a safe place to live and work.