THE leader of Eastleigh Borough Council has said the authority's finances are in good shape after ministers intervened as it is at "excessive" financial risk. 

Councillor Keith House has defended his running of the council amid claims in parliament that it could be in £650m of debt in three years.

His defence comes as the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities revealed it would be working with Eastleigh among other authorities "to reduce their level of risk".

Cllr House, who is facing criticism from Eastleigh MP Paul Holmes, said: "Eastleigh staff have been in positive discussion with government officials.  


"The council’s finances are in good shape and it is scandalous that Paul Holmes keeps trying to imply they are not."

Mr Holmes told the Echo he has warned about the levels of debt as did former borough MP Mims Davies.

He told the Echo: "It's obviously very concerning that a number of councils around the country have the levels of debt that we have seen. 

"My concern is that it's putting Eastleigh taxpayer's money at risk." 

He went on to call for a full investigation into projects such as One Horton Heath, which is set to produce a further 2,500 homes in the borough. 

He also said that Cllr House needs to "demonstrate how he is going to protect services". 

"If he decides not to do that, then I would expect the government department to take a stronger line."

But Cllr House added: "We have kept council tax down and protected services with healthy finances - unlike most Conservative councils."

The row comes after changes were made to give the government more powers to tackle excessive risk within the local government system. 

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