Council tax rise of 4.99% proposed in Wiltshire budget

HOUSEHOLDS will pay an extra £1.65 per week in council tax to Wiltshire Council from April, it has been proposed.

The authority has outlined budget proposals for the coming year, which included a 2.99% rise in council tax, as well as an additional 2% to be spent solely on adult social care.

Leader, Cllr Richard Clewer (Con, Downton & Ebble Valley), said the latest budget was balanced as part of a three-year plan.

Fees for leisure, some planning, and garden waste services would also rise, the council said, with reductions in agency costs and not replacing some vacant roles planned to cut costs.

However, the budget also outlines planned investments for the coming years, including an extra £10 million going on filling potholes and resurfacing roads over the next two years; an extra £1m to improve drainage; and £650,000 to boost planning and other enforcement.

Cllr Clewer said: “As a council, our ethos is driven by prevention and early help, and favouring the long-term approach, not quick fixes.

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“This is all underpinned by the strong foundation and clear direction our Business Plan provides.

“That approach is paying dividends, as demonstrated by our recent Outstanding Ofsted grade and consistently balanced budgets.

“Our prudent and preventative way of working doesn’t just ensure we simply maintain services; it means we can invest in our county and communities – from children’s and adult services through to highways and infrastructure.

“We are acutely aware there are still challenges to overcome and savings to be made. Like councils across the country, we receive limited government funding and are impacted by high inflation and energy prices.

“However, we never assume that central government will provide funding, or that grants will be maintained, so that means we haven’t been left with any unexpected issues or massive funding gaps unlike many other local authorities.

“However, we know things can quickly change and are always on alert, with our robust financial management putting us in good stead to mitigate such risks.

“Like households, we too are experiencing higher costs but we’re confident our budget proposals will allow us to continue to support residents as much as possible and provide the services they rely on.

“Proposals such as increasing council tax, although not easy decisions, are necessary in order for us to continue to tackle inflation and deliver quality services.

“This is a budget that supports residents, communities and businesses and I look forward to talking more about it over the coming weeks ahead of Full Council in February.”

Overall, the budget stands at £486m, an increase of some £36m.

Wiltshire Council teams have been battling to fill potholes amid a record number of reports

Wiltshire Council has announced extra money to repair potholes on county roads

Significant spending proposed is broken down as:
Adult services: £179.4m
Families and children: £70.8m
Environment: £49.5m
Highways and transport: £43m
Education and skills: £35.1m

The plans say the council does not intend to use reserves to balance the books, with the fund increased to £34m, covering assessed risks.

Other projects funded in the budget proposals include:
Building and refurbishing council houses: £45m
Structural maintenance and bridges: £21m
A350 Chippenham & Melksham bypass work: £18m
Trowbridge and Salisbury Future High Streets: £11m
Highways investment plan: £7m
Property carbon reduction programme: £5m
Investment in leisure centres: £3m
Trowbridge Leisure Centre: £800,000

The budget will be debated at the Full Council meeting on February 20.

For full details, log on to,13915.

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