WINCHESTER’S finance chief has confirmed plans to freeze the city’s slice of council tax for residents in the district – but not for those living in the city centre.

However, all residents will still see their bills rise thanks to a county increase, which makes up the majority of the overall bill.

It comes as a report setting out Winchester council’s budget for the 2019/20 financial year went before councillors for scrutiny.

It says the current amount paid to the city council by residents in band-D properties will remain at £138.92 for the 12 months starting April 1, while those living in the city centre will see the amount rise from £67.17 to £69.19, after Winchester Town Forum approved a 3% increase.

The planned amounts will need to be signed off by a meeting of Winchester City Council before being adopted.

Detailing the budget for the next year, portfolio holder for finance Cllr Guy Ashton, inset, said the council’s finances were “rock solid”.

Cllr Ashton added: “It feels like we are in really good shape. We are ever more financially self-reliant and sustainable.”

He also played down Brexit fears for council funds, saying the authority had a “dampened exposure” to Brexit’s impact on the economy, and said the roll out of Universal Credit in Winchester had not resulted in a spike of rent arrears cases.

The decision follows plans from Hampshire County Council to increase their council tax precept by 2.99%. If approved, this will see taxpayers living in band-D homes shelling out £1,236.87 during the 2019/20 financial year – up from £1,200.96 in 2018/19.