Council budget to go to Full Council
Wiltshire Council is proposing no increase to its council tax for the fourth year running thanks to the government 'freeze' grant.
If the budget is agreed at full council on 25 February, council tax will remain at 2010/11 levels despite a further £9.5 million reduction in central government funding.
The council's financial plan for 2014/15 proposes spending an additional £18.1 million on services including adult social care and safeguarding children. However, the overall budget of £333.1 million is almost £7.5 million lower than 2013/14. At the same time the council faces rises in demand for services such as care for the vulnerable and highways. As a result it has had to find £25.5 million savings and it will do this through cuts.
The Settlement Funding Allocation (SFA) from central government for next year (2014/15) is £63.2 million - £12.8 million lower than 2013/14.
The proposed budget was agreed by Wiltshire Council's cabinet on 11 February.
Cllr Dick Tonge, cabinet member for finance, said:
"We have again had to face up to considerable challenges following reduced central government funding and the increased demands on council services, particularly for those who are most vulnerable in our communities.
Our vision to create stronger and more resilient communities remains at the heart of everything we do and this budget helps us to achieve that.
We are investing in priority areas including highways, adult social care, children's service, affordable housing and the local economy - but we are again able to freeze Council Tax at the same level as 2010/11. This is because we continue to make savings by adopting more innovative ways of working."
The plan also proposes an increase in spending on road maintenance to £21m a year for the next six years and a £44.9 million investment over the next four years to modernise Wiltshire's council housing - with further money to provide more social housing and affordable homes. This capital investment forms part of the council's gross budget for the year of almost £900 million - which also includes items such as schools and public health, funded by direct grants from the government.