Council tax set to be frozen

COUNCIL tax is set to remain the same for the next financial year after Wiltshire Council Cabinet members voted in favour of freezing their part of the tax.

If approved by full council on February 26, it will be the fourth year running that there has been no increase.

It means that Wiltshire Council’s element of the average Band D council tax for 2013/14 would remain at £1,222.43.

At a Cabinet meeting at the Guildhall in Salisbury on Tuesday, council leader Jane Scott said: “We will be investing in a number of areas and making savings in order to make this possible.”

The proposed new budget for the year is £340million, £10million less than the past year. It involves a capital programme of £143million to be spent on new and existing projects in the county such as affordable housing, education and the community campuses.

More than £17million is earmarked for supporting key frontline services, including an additional £2.9million investment in services for vulnerable children and families, and a further £5.7million investment in services for the elderly.

There is set to be a £2.6million increase in funding for the maintenance of roads, and £580,000 is to go into car parks and lowering the cost of season tickets while there is set to be a number of free car parking days over the year during certain special events.

Local government officers are also set to get a pay increase of one per cent.

Savings of £27million have come from areas such as procurement, service efficiencies, systems thinking and better management of assets. Cllr Scott said: “We have changed how we purchase goods and contract services to deliver improvements that save money.

“A further £85million will be saved over a 25-year period from reducing our council offices from 95 to three main hubs in Chippenham, Salisbury and Trowbridge.

“We will save an additional £5million each year in running and maintenance costs on council buildings.”

A £362,000 government sparsity grant is to be divided between area boards (to receive £162,000) and schools.

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