Wiltshire Council tax set to rise by 6%

Wiltshire Council tax set to rise by 6%

Published by The Spire FM News Team at 12:19pm 30th January 2018.

We're told the increase is needed to keep services going, but the authority also needs to make £25.6 million of savings.

The amount we'll be paying in council tax in  Wiltshire from the next financial year is set to rise by 5.99% - as the authority still needs to make millions of pounds of savings.

Wiltshire Council's put forward their budget plans, but they'll need approval from the Full Council first in a meeting on February 20th.

They're asking for a 5.99% increase with around half of that going towards Adult Social Care in particular.

Despite that proposed rise, Wiltshire Council needs to make savings of around £25.6 million in the next year to balance the books.

That's because of cuts in Government funding and higher costs of delivering services.

WHAT DOES WILTSHIRE COUNCIL SPEND ITS MONEY ON?

The Council runs more than 350 services around the county per year.

That costs them around £1 billion a year with a priority to protect those who are most vulnerable, grow the local economy and encourage strong communities.

They've also announced plans for around £120 million of capital investment in the financial year 2018/19, such as:

  • £13.1 million in the economy and transport
  • £25.8 million in housing, plus £3 million for Disabled Facilities Grants
  • £24 million on road and bridges repair and maintenance
  • £23.8 million in campuses and community hubs

SAVINGS STILL NEEDED:

Overall, Wiltshire Council needs to find £25.596 million of savings and has put forward a plan to make those.

They've clarified that that will be done by 'reviewing and transforming services and the way we work by becoming more business-like'.

The authority's also looking to use more digital technology to enable services to be delivered in different and more efficient ways.

There are five main transformation programmes to deliver the savings. These are:

  • Adult care transformation - This could see savings of up to £15 million of future costs by radically reviewing how the Council initially interacts with, and assesses people, how they care for people, and how they help people live better and healthier lives for longer in their own homes.
  • Families and children's transformation - This will also see future costs reduced by continuing with changes to the way they monitor and interact with families to safeguard and prevent children coming into care. There is an emphasis on early intervention, with the aim of delivering better outcomes and avoiding high costs when children become young adults.
  • Digital - The Council say they'll continue to deliver more services using digital technology, wherever possible, and a £1.5 million investment is expected to see a return of £5 million on an annual basis by 2021/22.
  • Community engagement and devolution - Building on strong partnerships with local communities, the aim is to save £3.5 million through greater devolution of more services locally.
  • Commercial - A new commercial strategy, which will be considered in February, sets an overall approach to greater trading, income generation and commercial challenge of costs. This aims to secure £7.8 million of additional income. Trading more commercially with schools has already started, to deliver £1.2 million savings a year by 2021/22.

WHAT DOES THE INCREASE MEAN FOR US?

A 5.99% increase, if it's approved will mean the following rises for the average Band D household:

  • 22p more per day
  • £1.54 per week

Here's the totals for the year for each property band:

Wiltshire Council Tax Bands 2018-19 (WC)

Baroness Scott of Bybrook OBE, Wiltshire Council leader, said:

"Each year we face the tough challenge of balancing the budget to ensure that we can allocate sufficient funding to deliver our priorities - and each year since we became Wiltshire Council we have done this.

"Continuing to protect those who are most vulnerable is a growing challenge, but one that we are committed to prioritising. We are developing sustainable plans that underpin our 10 year Business Plan to deliver the services and care that those who are most vulnerable need, along with plans to grow the economy and build strong communities. We are also investing to make sure that Wiltshire remains an attractive and thriving place for people to live, visit and work.

"I am proud to lead a council of dedicated and innovative people who work with local communities and partner organisations to deliver the services that they need, and support those who are vulnerable."

Wiltshire Council will meet on February 20th to decide on whether the proposed budget will go ahead - if it does, it'll come in from April 2018.

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