EHDC – The only council in the country to cut council tax
East Hampshire District Council is the only local authority in the country to be cutting council tax, a survey has revealed. The survey by the Press Association involved all 353 councils in England and showed that the vast majority were increasing tax by the maximum permitted. Twenty two said they were freezing tax, but East Hampshire stood out as the only council to cut its share of the tax.
The survey prompted widespread coverage of EHDC’s pioneering approach in national newspapers and on national radio. Council leader Ferris Cowper said: “I want people to understand there is a completely different way of running the public sector. Does the public sector need to have handouts from the Government? Does it need to levy a tax on people? Why can’t it work out ways in which public services can be wholly or partly funded from other sources of income? East Hampshire District Council is maintaining a very low cost base for our services. That does not mean we are cutting services but we are always looking to make them more efficient. We are also opening up new opportunities to raise income outside of the traditional sources. We have made several successful investments in commercial properties and we have been able to sell our services to other local authorities or to the private sector. This is a new financial model which will rethink how public sector finances are delivered and these principles can be followed by any other public sector organisation.”