COUNCILLORS at East Dorset District Council look set to raise council tax for the first time in three years.

The rise, which would amount to a seven pence per week increase for a Band D property, will be considered at the meeting of the council’s resources committee on February 13.

Over the past two years, the Government’s formula grant to the council has been cut by 28 per cent.

A further cut in the grant of 11 per cent, which will equal £265,000, will be seen by the council in the coming financial year, with yet more cuts planned for the foreseeable future.

Chairman of the resources committee, Councillor Alex Clarke, said: “The joint service strategy with Christchurch Borough Council has generated significant savings of over £700,000 per year to date, with a further £300,000 targeted.

“This will enable the council to contain its council tax increase to 7p per week, whilst still protecting frontline services.”

He said the recommendation to the committee is for a small rise to avoid “real problems” in the next few years, which will mean no reduction in services.

If the recommendation is agreed, the decision will go to full council for ratification on February 25.

Councils looking to raise their council tax by more than 2% need to put it to a referendum. But many councils have opted for 1.95% rises, prompting accusations from minster Eric Pickles that they are "dodging democracy."

Poole has opted for a 1.95% rise, as has Christchurch. Bournemouth and Dorset are freeing their bills.