WINCHESTER civic chiefs have pledged to get “even more for even less” after approving their annual budget.

The Conservative-led council is freezing council tax for a second year in a row, with the average Band D charge remaining at £126.27.

But the Liberal Democrats criticised the Cabinet for balancing the budget with £500,000 from council reserves, with £1.1m more expected to be withdrawn next year .

Lib Dem leader Cllr Kelsie Learney said: “We need to start immediately looking for radical changes in the way the council provides services. There are things we do very well but many of these things can be done adequately. We can still provide a good service to residents without providing a gold-plated one.”

Council leader Cllr Keith Wood defended the budget. He said it was a sensible approach and added: “Our policy is to gradually ensure that council finances are sound and we will take responsibility for that.”

Councillors’ allowances are also frozen but the proposals included making the council a Living Wage Employer, a system which guarantees its lowest paid staff enough income to meet basic living needs.