TEST VALLEY residents look set for a year with no increase in council tax.

The news comes as Test Valley Borough Council (TVBC) has revealed its Project Enterprise’ investments are set to bring more than £2 million into council coffers.

As previously reported, the council established the Project Enterprise (PE) initiative in 2014 to increase its income from investments and reduce its reliance on government funding.

As part of the scheme, the council has invested in a number of properties which include several industrial units across the borough such as units at Andover Trade Park.

Now part of the money is set to be used to freeze council tax, with a Band D rate of £1,585.57.

This comes after last year the council increased the Band D rate by £5.

The decision backed by Cabinet members earlier this month is set to be approved at the full council meeting set to be held on February 25.

Finance portfolio holder, Councillor Peter Giddings, said: “I am pleased that we are in a position to freeze council tax this year, largely as a result of the success of the

Project Enterprise initiative and the council taking a far more entrepreneurial approach to managing its finances and generating income. Despite reductions in the money we get from central government our council tax remains one of the lowest in the country and is £43 lower than the average in the rest of England.”

According to the authority, net rental income from the PE’s investments is forecast to be £2.009million in 2019/20, an average return on investment of 7.3 per cent.

For 2018/19, the council is anticipating an income from PE’s investments of £1.958million.

The authority said the amount of investment in completed projects is currently £27.479million.

“Project Enterprise has been a great success so far and we will continue to build on that success over the coming years. The financial picture looks ever more challenging for local authorities but we are ready to meet that challenge and our ambition is to thrive rather than simply survive,” councillor Giddings added.

The authority said the income has been generated by investing the cash reserves held by the council in projects that will yield greater returns than the current investment portfolio.

According to the authority, income from PE’s investments is expected to be £1.772million more than what would have been achieved by retaining the balances in cash.

The news comes as the council has recently sold a warehouse on the Walworth Business Park, in Andover for £6 million.

The scheme was the first new build industrial development completed by Kier after it entered into an agreement to with Test Valley Borough Council in 2011 to develop the site.