TAXPAYERS across Basingstoke and Deane could be asked to pay an extra two per cent in council tax from 2016/17 in the face of Government funding cuts.

Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council’s decision-making Cabinet is set to give the go-ahead for the Council Plan 2016 to 2020, along with a proposed budget for the same period, to go to public consultation, at a meeting next Tuesday.

The plan sets out the vision for the borough council over the next four years with the key themes being to prepare for controlled and sustainable growth, improving residents’ quality of life, supporting people across the borough and creating an organisation that is capable of delivering change.

And in the face of reduced pots of money expected from the Government, the local authority is currently planning financially for the future, which includes a proposed two per cent increase in its share of council tax each year of the plan from 2016/17.

The increase would amount to an additional £2 per year for each Band D property across the borough.

In addition, the borough council is proposing to increase fees and charges by one per cent in 2016/17, 1.5 per cent in 2017/18 and two per cent in the following years.

The local authority is also hoping to find an additional £3.4m from efficiency savings and additional income between 2016 and 2020.

Leader of the borough council, Councillor Clive Sanders, told The Gazette: “The first thing to say is we do intend to remain a low tax council. We have, at the moment, got a two per cent (council tax) increase in the budget but that is because we don’t know what is going to happen in the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement.

“It might be that don’t have to do it but if we haven’t consulted on it, we can’t do it. We don’t find out our settlement (grant from the Government) until Christmas so we can’t be any more specific with what we are doing with council tax at this stage until then.”

Cllr Sanders added: “It is the first one (Autumn Statement) following the General Election and one would expect more radical change that you would not normally get.

“It doesn’t stop us continuing to drive efficiency. We have driven out a hell of a lot of costs since 2006. It has been £12million of costs which is approximately 25 per cent of our operating costs and yet we haven’t cut a single service.”

The local authority has created the new council plan two years ahead of schedule as it says it has been able to deliver most of the objectives in the Council Plan 2013 to 2017, including bringing John Lewis and Waitrose and Network Rail to the town, regenerating housing in Oakridge and Popley and starting major road improvements such as Black Dam Roundabout.

Cllr Sanders added: “We have managed to bring forward, one way or another, policies that support these actions and we have done quite a lot.

“What we are now looking at doing is laying the foundations for the future. We have established all the policies by doing a number of things and we are saying this is the direction we want to go in but now we have to put in place things that will enable the borough to develop for the first half of the 21st century because the decisions we are taking over the next four or five years will actually set the framework for the way the town in particular, and the borough as a whole, will develop during that time.”

He continued: “Our goal with the plan and budget is to try and combine our strong ambition with effectiveness so that we deliver a Basingstoke and Deane that is somewhere really fit for the 21st century, where there are places people want to live, facilities people can enjoy and everybody can enjoy the prosperity and everybody can share it so that it is not restricted and we have removed as much division in our society as we possibly can.”

If the consultation is agreed at the meeting, the public will have their say on the proposals between October 30 and December 14.