City Council tax rise only £3.42 per year

Winchester City Council's Cabinet is recommending to council on 24 February a council tax increase of £3.42 with a Band "D" rate of £107.82 for the coming year, up from £104.40.

Cabinet is also recommending that the Winchester Town rate is set at £46.75, the same as the last two years.

Council Leader Sheila Campbell said the City Council increase amounted to less than 7p per week for the average household.

"Winchester is disadvantaged under the current council tax system as our government grant is set based on their assumption that we should tax at £140 per year. This is £30 per household higher than our actual tax," she added.

"In order to keep the increase as low as possible we have left ourselves a shortage of revenue which will lead to cuts in future years if the anomalies in the system are not corrected next year."

A report to Cabinet on 8 February from Director of Finance Sheila Boden says the budget deficit for 2005-06 is projected at about £0.7m, with £236,000 earmarked from reserves. This would leave a budget deficit of £500,000 but the Council's prudent financial approach means that it is likely the actual deficit will be less.

But she warned that the projected deficit for the following years is £0.9m, and this will need to be reduced.

Budgets for Hampshire County Council, Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service and the Police Authority will be set in the coming weeks. These figures need to be added to the City Council rate, plus the various rates set by parish councils, which range from zero for Chilcomb, Beauworth, Kilmeston and Exton, £8.91 for Warnford, up to £69.66 for Bishops Waltham and £79.92 for Denmead.