East Hampshire cuts council tax for second year

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East Hampshire District CouncilImage source, Basher Eyre
Image caption,
East Hampshire District Council says it wants to become financially independent

East Hampshire District Council has approved a 2.6% cut in council tax for 2017-18.

The decision comes as the majority councils are increasing the charge, many by the maximum 4.99%.

It is the second consecutive year the Conservative-run authority has reduced its share of the charge.

The council says it eventually aims to cut council tax to zero and free itself from relying on government grants by becoming financially independent.

Council leader Ferris Cowper said: "We have shown it is possible for councils to make their own money, without increasing the tax burden on their residents and without cutting services."

East Hampshire District Council has been marketing its services to other authorities to bring in extra income - departments including planning, regeneration and communications are expected to generate nearly £1m this financial year.

The authority has also bought a number of commercial properties, including the Iceland store in Alton, which in total, it says, generate nearly £850,000 a year for its services.

The latest cut will make the district council share of council tax for a band D property £131.11, down from £134.55.

Council tax rises of 5% or more require a local referendum.

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