EAST Dorset District Council has decided to put its council tax up, while New Forest District Council (NFDC) has frozen its share for a fifth year.

People living in an average Band D property in the forest will continue to pay £155.76 a year towards the services provided by the district council. Their total bill will be between £1,430 and £1,513.

NFDC leader Barry Rickman said: “We’ve made major reductions in spending and reviewed every area of activity, but we have not reduced services. In fact, we have improved or introduced new services.”

East Dorset residents in average Band D homes will pay £198.45 to the district council, after a 1.95 per cent rise voted through last week. The total council tax in Band D in East Dorset, including contributions to Dorset County Council, Dorset Police and Dorset Fire Authority, will be upwards of £1,687.80 depending on whether they pay for a town or parish council.

Leader Ian Monks said: “The most recent Local Government Finance Settlement shows a net reduction in funding of 9.4 per cent in 2014/15 and 13.2 per cent in 2015-16.

“Despite representations that the relentless reduction in funding will ultimately undermine our ability to undertake our statutory responsibilities, this has had little traction with government.

“Our strategy regarding Council Tax increases has been for small affordable increases of below £4 per annum. Whilst any increase in tax is never welcome, we believe this strategy will significantly protect the income needed to continue the services we intend to deliver.”