HAMPSHIRE civic bosses have backed proposals for a 2.99% council tax increase, which will generate £18 million for the authority.

Its Conservative-leading frontbench picked through the proposals at the council’s cabinet meeting, agreeing that the rise was needed to “protect” services.

The plans will now need to go to full council on February 14 before they can be officially signed off.

If approved, this will see taxpayers living in Band D homes shelling out £1,236.87 during the 2019/20 financial year – up from £1,200.96 in 2018/19. Councillors say that this will aid its bid to save another £80 million by 2021.

Council leader Roy Perry said: “For some years, the county council has set and implemented a careful strategy designed to cope with rising demand for services.

“This planning has served us, and more importantly, those who depend on county council services, well.Our aim has been, and will continue to be, to protect services on which Hampshire residents depend – particularly those for the most vulnerable in our communities, especially the children in our care and the growing number of elderly residents needing support.” He added: “The rising pressures on services mean that our planned savings programme needs to deliver £140 million by April this year.”

As reported, the council increased its tax by 5.99% last year, after central government allowed councils that funded social care to ask residents for more of a contribution. However the authority says that since government cuts began ten years ago, it has had to slash around £480 million from its budget, but will need to cut even more to reach £560 million in three years time.

Opposition Lib Dem leader Keith House said

: “I am disappointed but not surprised that the Conservative Party continues to cut local services and hike up council tax. Hampshire’s Conservative MPs have failed Hampshire people by continuing to back deeper cuts to local government rather than making savings by cancelling Brexit”.