RESIDENTS of Test Valley are facing a tax increase for the coming year.

Test Valley Borough Council will increase tax by the highest amount possible without triggering a referendum.

The authority is putting forward its £5 annual rise, or 3.67 per cent, before cabinet later this month, which would generate an overall funding increase of £237,000.

That figure rises to £345,000 more from last year after adding in the new Band D properties that have been built.

The TaxPayers’ Alliance has called increases ‘painful’.

The borough council say that the rise will help towards playgrounds, leisure facilities and improving disabled access. The proposals, which will see Band D properties rise from £136.41 to £141.41 yearly, will go towards the cabinet on February 14 where they will be finalised before being heard by the council on February 23.

Economic portfolio holder, councillor Peter Giddings, said: “Our council tax is the 26th lowest of all the 201 district councils in the country and despite central government spending reductions, we are still able to continue to invest in our residents, communities and businesses.

“We are investing over £450,000 in 28 playgrounds across the borough as well as other new and improved leisure facilities.We continue to award grants to new businesses and for improved disabled facilities, develop our towns with the Town Mills Project and Romsey enhancement works and help to provide affordable housing.”

Cllr Giddings added: “Our central government revenue support grant has reduced by 98.2 per cent in the last five years and will end entirely in 2019 – 2020.”

John O’Connell, chief executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: “While local politicians complain that their budgets are under strain, they should remember that family budgets are as well. Local authorities should think twice before another round of painful tax hikes.”