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Council tax cut expected for East Hampshire

3 minute read
Council tax cut expected for East Hampshire

Published at 4:11pm 13th February 2017.

Council tax is set to be cut in East Hampshire - leaving residents £170,000 better off. 

If approved, a 2.6% reduction will be the council’s second consecutive Council Tax cut.

It went down by 2% last year.

The good news for residents does not stop there. 

East Hampshire District Council says it will commit to a third cut for 2018/2019 bringing its share of Council Tax down to the lowest level since 2006/2007.

It comes as many other local authorities in the country are seeing an increase.

In January a 15% increase was proposed by Surrey County Council.

The controversial move, which Council Leader David Hodge said was to plug a gap in social care funding, caused anger amongst many.

The council is now proposing a new budget, which would see council tax rise by 4.99%.

The moment Mr Hodge announced the change of direction

East Hampshire District Council Leader, Councillor Ferris Cowper, said: “We are proposing to reduce our Council Tax at a time when nearly all local authorities are increasing their charge by the maximum amount allowed by Government.

“East Hampshire District Council has stated its ambition to bring Council Tax down to zero and is committed to making itself free from reliance on Government grant.

"This latest cut, and the promise to make further tax cuts next year, backs up this commitment with positive action.

“We have shown it is possible for councils to make their own money, without increasing the tax burden on their residents and without cutting services.”

But how can the council afford this cut?

The council says it has been able to make the cut thanks to the success of its business strategies and its property investments.

Its departments have been marketing services to other authorities and local organisations to bring in extra income.

EHDC’s Planning Services, Community Team, Communications, Programmes, Neighbourhood Planning and the regeneration team, RegenCo, are expected to make a collective contribution approaching £1m.

The council has also bought six high-quality commercial properties since 2013 totalling £12.5m, the latest being the Iceland store on Alton High Street.

These properties generate approaching £850,000 in rent every year, around £700,000 more than could be gained through interest on cash deposits.

If agreed by Cabinet on Tuesday, February 14, the proposed cut will be put forward for approval by Full Council on February 23.

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