BASINGSTOKE and Deane Borough Council are spending almost £10 million less than what they did nine years ago, according to research published by a national union.

The Trade Union Congress (TUC), a federation of unions across the country, released the figures that show that in 2018-19, Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council spent £9.1 million less on ‘key services’ than they did in 2010-11.

It works out that the Conservative-controlled council are spending 23% less over that time.

It is a similar rate as their nearest neighbour, Test Valley Borough Council, who are 24% down.

Hart District Council have decreased their funding by a larger rate, down 39%, but a lower amount per head.

The data is calculated from figures provided by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, which says that councils across the South East are spending £800 million a year less than they were.

The figures include money spent on highways and transport, social care, housing, culture, environment, planning and central services.

Steve Torrance, regional secretary of UNISON, said: “Local council-run services hold communities together but nine years of Westminster-imposed austerity has put an immense strain on their ability to do that.

“Across the South East central government spending cuts have forced libraries to shut, care visits have been reduced, allotments and parks sold off, youth centres closed, subsidised bus services scrapped and public conveniences mothballed.”

Cllr Ken Rhatigan, Leader of Basingstoke & Deane Borough Council, said: “We’re funding more services than we ever have done. We’ve got more PCSOs on the street, our parks and leisure are better than they ever have been.”

Patricia Hughes, Joint Chief Executive, Hart District Council said: “It is great to see that all the hard work Hart District Council has put in to increase efficiency of services, is reflected in this reduction in costs to deliver important services for our residents, businesses and the community.

However, whilst successful so far, our focus will be to continue to innovate and evolve to ensure our services are both customer focussed and cost effective into the future.”