COUNCIL tax is set to be frozen for the third year running today when ruling Tories on Hampshire County Council vote through cuts totalling £45m.

About 30 anti-cut campaigners and union members demonstrated outside the Winchester council chamber before Conservative councillors rubber-stamped the budget.

Unions and opposition councillors have called for the authority to spend some of its £213m reserves to save jobs and front-line services.

Almost every service will be cut apart from child protection and a further 230 jobs lost.

However the council has added £3m to the budget to help the vulnerable including, £900,000 for speech and language therapy for children with disabilities, £500,000 for a council apprenticeship scheme for children leaving care, £300,000 for an apprenticeship scheme for college leavers with learning disabilities and £300,000 to help troubled families turn their lives around.

In addition, £1m has been ringfenced to help disabled adults hardest hit by increases in social care charges because they need two home carers, for example to lift them out of a wheelchair into a bed.

The council's share of the council tax bill will be frozen at £1,037 for an average Band D property.

Setting out the £688m budget for 2012-13, council leader Ken Thornber said: “We have protected the young, the vulnerable and the elderly and we have maintained services that are among the best in the country.”

The council is faced with a shortfall in government funding of £77m between 2011-15.