East Hampshire District Council (EHDC) is raising its share of residents council tax for the year from April by two per cent – £2.78 for a Band D house.

And the £150,000 raised through the increase is going to spent on welfare projects in the district.

This year district councils had the choice of raising their bill by up to three per cent, or £5. To increase it above that they needed to get residents’ approval by holding a referendum.

EHDC leader Richard Millard said: “Everyone is in a difficult situation, so it was inappropriate to raise it by three per cent. We think we have arrived at a fair increase.”

It costs about £14m a year to run the council and to provide council services, and this year inflation hasn’t helped its finances.

Chief financial officer Matt Tiller said: “We had to review our base, as inflation, cost of living and rising prices has put about £2.4m on our running costs.

“But we have also made savings, including £500,000 after going our separate way from our former partner authority Havant Borough Council.

“We have also saved £500,000 from our transformation programme, and we are making our money work harder, which is generating an extra £500,000.

“But let’s be very clear, we are also leveraging in money from reserves.”

Overall the council is in a good place financially, says Cllr Millard.