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Basingstoke and Deane residents face £5 council tax increase a year for next four years as council tackles funding gap

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Council tax for Basingstoke and Deane residents is likely to rise £5 a year for the next four years as the borough council prepares to deal with a predicted £1.2m funding gap in 2025/26.

Under draft proposals approved for public consultation at a cabinet meeting last week, the council’s fees and charges will also increase by three per cent.

These increases will go towards meeting the extra demand for the council’s services.

However, the council will be investing an additional £1m investment – deployed from its unused reserves – into its frontline services, as it prepares to take on an additional 29 full time employees over the next four years.

This investment will include seven grounds maintenance staff and three in the council’s natural environment team, as well as more staff to help with climate change challenges, housing and homelessness, and customer service.

As reported by the Newbury Weekly News at the beginning of this month, Hampshire County Council is also preparing to hike its portion of council tax by 3.99 per cent as it tackles an £80m black hole.

The dual rises mean the average band D property could be paying around an extra £60 per year from next April.

Borough council cabinet member for finance and major projects John Izett (Con, Evingar) said: “We have weathered the Covid pandemic well so far and with careful management are dealing with the loss of central Government funding year on year.

“Because of the tough choices we continue to make, we’re able to pay for more investment in frontline services that residents tell us are most important to them.

“It’s by managing our finances carefully year on year that we’re able to withstand shocks such as Covid on the one hand and find the extra money to invest in front line services on the other hand.

“Very few councils across the country are in this fortunate strong position.”

Despite the increase in investment to frontline services, there will be cuts elsewhere.

The council is proposing to withdraw its funding for the Basingstoke Kite Festival, Transport Festival and Euskirchen Festival of Sport, saving it around £200,000.

It is also suggesting reducing its grants to the community and voluntary sector by £130,000.

A public consultation on the draft budget has now been launched and will run until Sunday, January 2, 2022.

Feedback from the consultation will then be considered before final decisions about the budget are taken at a council meeting on February 17, 2022.

To take part in the consultation, visit www.basingstoke.gov.uk/budget2021.

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