AS COUNCIL tax looks set to rise by the maximum amount for Islanders, the ruling party has said it hopes to change direction from just 'managing decline'.

The Isle of Wight Council budget is currently being worked up and will be decided in February ahead of the next financial year.

It is also the Alliance's first budget following four years of Conservative plans, which the new administration slammed as just 'tightening the council's belt further and further'.

Cllr Lora Peacey-Wilcox told cabinet on Thursday that previous savings had been 'mistakenly described' to cover an ongoing process of cuts that she said cannot continue.

She said in the upcoming budget the Alliance looked to invigorate the council and develop a financial strategy built on growth, not cuts, warning if they fail to do so some key services could be stopped.

The group's primary aim, she said, must be on generating what the Island economy needs to 'thrive, survive and drive' through actions and initiatives.

Following an approved financial strategy under the previous administration, Cllr Peacey-Wilcox said they have 'with their hands tied' had to make £3 million of savings from the budget.

She said: "We have sought to do this in the least damaging way possible and our approach is to protect whatever we can. We can then start rebuilding and regenerating the council from a sound financial basis, instead of managing decline."

Following years of insufficient government, Cllr Peacey-Wilcox pledged to actively seek recognition to be treated as an Island but they 'cannot rely on that happening any time soon'.

Islanders will get their first glimpse of the proposed budget in February.

However you can have your say beforehand in a budget consultation. It is open until January 21 and you can fill it in here: