MORE than 14,000 New Forest households are facing council tax rises from April.

Tory-run New Forest District Council is planning to freeze its share of the council tax for the third year running but Lymington and Pennington Town Council has decided to increase its budget from £675,000 to £683,000 – despite claims that the authority has a moral duty to help the elderly and unemployed by avoiding “profligacy”.

People living in an average Band D property will pay the authority £155 in 2013-2014. That is added to the money demanded by Hampshire County Council, police and the fire service.

Town councillors on the Tory-controlled authority defended the increase, saying they were determined to improve facilities in the town. It means the average band D council tax payer will have to pay the council an extra 64p in the coming financial year.