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Less money to be taken from youth services
WILTSHIRE councillors have agreed to cut less from their youth services budget than originally planned.
As part of Wiltshire Council’s budget, £500,000 was due to be cut from the its youth services funding, which would have seen all the county’s youth clubs axed and 140 job losses.
However, a compromise amendment tabled by the Liberal Democrats to cut only half that amount was accepted at a full council meeting held at County Hall, Trowbridge, on Tuesday.
About £100,000 of the required savings will be made by cutting administration costs and there will be an efficiency review of youth club premises aimed at saving £150,000.
It is not yet clear exactly how youth services in south Wiltshire will be affected by the cuts and a tenweek consultation which began in the county in January is ongoing.
Councillors also agreed to freeze the Wiltshire Council element of council tax for the fourth consecutive year.
For the 2013/14 financial year, council tax will remain at the same rate as 2010/11 – £1,222 for an average band D property.
The council’s financial plan for 2014/15 outlines an additional £18.1m to be spent on key services including adult social care and safeguarding children, despite the council’s overall budget of £333.1m being £7.5m lower than the previous year.
Council leader Jane Scott said: “This has been a challenging budget to set but I’m pleased we have yet again been able to freeze council tax.
“The ongoing reduction in central government funding combined with increased demand has meant that once again we have had to take an innovative approach to ensure we can continue to provide vital front-line services for the people of Wiltshire.
“We will continue to do whatever we can to lessen the impact on these vital services and to protect those who are most vulnerable in our communities.
“The county has recently seen the impact of adverse weather and we need to support those communities that were directly affected and to invest significantly to maintain and improve our roads.
“Our local communities remain at the heart of every decision we make and we recognise what’s important to them in allocating the budget.”