HOUSEHOLDS across Hampshire could see their council tax rise by almost five per cent from April as the county council wants to raise an extra £39m.

The total £836m expected council tax income for 2024/25 will represent 72.1 per cent of the total funding of Hampshire County Council’s net budget.

In the last months, some councils under financial pressure have had no alternative but to issue Section 114, effectively declaring bankruptcy, due to the economic pressures they are facing.

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Despite this, Hampshire County Council insists that its financial position is not as bad as other authorities, and its savings plan can keep it afloat as long as the UK government takes responsibility and helps.

Basingstoke Gazette: Hampshire County CouncilHampshire County Council (Image: Newsquest)

However, to get extra funding, the county council proposes increasing the council tax by 4.99 per cent - the maximum allowed without a referendum.

This means that for the UK government’s financial year starting on April 1, the council tax for band D properties would be £1,533.24 instead of the current £1,460.25 – working out as an extra £1.40 a week.

In the recently approved savings plan, the council said it could raise around £90.4m to plug a £132m budget shortfall by April 2025.

This plan, currently in the consultation phase, includes closing 12 tips, stopping funding support to people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, withdrawing funding for community transport services, introducing car parking charges at rural countryside car parks or withdrawing from the school crossing patrols service at, initially, 26 sites.

Following ongoing lobbying, more than 40 MPs sent a letter to the Prime Minister this month urging him to provide emergency funding to councils to prevent major reductions to local services.

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As a result, a £600m package will be sent to councils as an emergency measure. Although the exact figures each council will receive are not yet known, Hampshire County Council expects to receive £10m.

The council’s deputy chief executive and director of corporate operations Rob Carr said in the report that will be presented next week to cabinet members that although this grant is well received and will help reduce reserve levels to balance the budget in 2024/25, there are “no indications as to whether this funding will be built into future settlements and even if we assume that it is, it means we still face a recurring budget deficit of over £30 million from 2025/26 onward”.

He added: “The extra funding helps to shore up our finances further to 2025/26, but it does not change the underlying fact that our recurring budget position is unsustainable.”

As part of the council reserves strategy, it will continue using £84.7m from its budget bridging reserve (BBR) for 2024/25, around £2m less than was previously reported.