CIVIC chiefs have agreed to reserve much-needed funds for flood defences in light of the ongoing problems across Winchester.

In a cabinet meeting on Wednesday (February 12) officials agreed to the recommendation put forward to freeze council tax for the fourth year running with the condition that £100k be kept back to help flood relief and defences across the city and surrounding villages, some of which were the hardest hit across all of Hampshire.

Cllr Stephen Godfrey said: “Before we agree we need to make a particular provision for flooding in our district so I propose an amendment to the recommendation to make monies available to those areas where flooding relief and defences are paramount.

“I propose we put £100k for a flood defences scheme subject to proposals coming forward.

“This is an estimate of the costs but if we can make such funding available then we should do so. I think it's really important we act now to minimise the devastation so many people across the district have faced.”

The current rate of tax stands at £126.27 at Band D for city council services and the officer’s recommendations were that this was frozen again at the same rate for 2014-15.

The government has stipulated that any local authority which freezes council tax in 2013-14 will receive additional funding – the equivalent to having set a one per cent increase on the 2013-14 level.