PLANS to get taxpayers across Basingstoke and Deane to pay an extra two per cent in council tax from 2016 have come under fire.

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.

And in the face of reduced pots of money expected from the Government, the local authority has included a proposed two per cent increase in its share of council tax each year of the plan from the year 2016/17.

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

The borough’s share of council tax has been frozen for the last five years.

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 and plans to use 25 per cent of the Government’s New Homes Bonus grant to support the revenue budget.

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 we 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 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, Waitrose and Network Rail to the town.

But opposition councillors have hit out at the Council Plan.

Leader of the borough’s Labour group, Cllr Paul Harvey, told The Gazette that the real issue was the services that had been cut or changed because of “many years of bad management of the budget”.

He added: “From our point of view we think the council needs a radical overhaul of how it runs itself for people because the big missing piece of the council plan is that it is focused on things and not focused on people.

“The Conservatives will steal money from Popley and Brookvale and their New Homes Bonus which they got from having to cope with high levels of development. The fact they are trying to take that away is totally disgraceful and we are utterly opposed to that.”

Cllr Gavin James, leader of the local Liberal Democrats group, added: “Effectively the public is going to pay the price for Conservative inactivity on investments."

“The Liberal Democrats proposed a number of years ago investing in green energy and the returns are far greater than any of the investments we have got at the moment.

“These seven or eight per cent returns would be supporting the revenue budget of the council which would mean that we could carry on funding services.

“The Tories didn’t do it, they have left it too late and now of course central Government are winding down the investment in green energy which means it is not possibly as financially beneficial as it was when we proposed it. So it is a Tory failure and the public have to pay.”

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