Conservative Councillors on Hampshire County Council and New Forest District Council have approved a massive hike of 4.99% in council tax during the pandemic despite services being cut and further cuts expected. The Liberal Democrats opposed the tax rise.
The increase of 4.99% is the maximum increase the council can make without seeking the people's approval for such a rise in a referendum.
The Liberal Democrats opposed the tax rise due to the financial impact on the New Forest's most vulnerable residents.
Responding after the vote, Lib Dem Councillor for Hythe West and Langdown Rebecca Clark said:
"Tax rises were always likely to be brought in by Conservative councils across the country as a way of getting the people to pick up the tab for the pandemic's effect on council finances.
"If they're so tight up that they are going cap in hand asking the people to pay even more for fewer and fewer services, why are they spending £1.2 million on adding a wine bar or restaurant onto the toilet block at Lymington Quay?
"The Liberal Democrats will always fight for common-sense decisions and against wasting our money on vanity projects when they're increasing tax on local people."