Wiltshire Council will be giving around £300,000 to town and parish councillors across the region to make up for a Government reduction in the Council Tax base.
This follows a Government announcement that from April 2013, Council Tax support, previously known as Council Tax Benefit, will now take the form of a Council Tax reduction, reducing the Council Tax base for 2013/14 across the country.
This was confirmed in November at a time when many town and parish councils had already prepared their precepts for next year.
To cover precepts requests, Wiltshire Council receives £1.1m of Government funding but Wiltshire Council estimate that for the region’s Council Tax support scheme to have no effect £1.4m is needed with them covering the shortfall.
Wiltshire Councillor John Brady, cabinet member for finance performance and risk, said: “We have made a decision that we will make up the difference this year and then talk to the parish and town councils about things for the future.
“One of our main concerns is that, many may have to increase their precepts and an increase of over 2.5 per cent could result in local referendums which would cost more than us subsidising the shortfall.”
Cllr Brady praised the work of Wiltshire’s town and parish councillors and that Wiltshire Council were pleased to support them.
He said: “Some would be in a shocking state if we didn’t support them at this moment in time especially as much of what they do is supporting essential services in our local communities.
“I do think that there will be a number of town and parish councils looking at their overheads over the next 12 months.”
The tax base is the number of branded properties that Wiltshire council uses to set its Council Tax rate.
During Tuesday’s Wiltshire Council Cabinet meeting in Monkton Park, Chippenham, councillors will be asked to approve that the Council Tax base for 2013/14 as 164,575.59 Band D equivalent properties for 2013/14.
Last year’s approved Council Tax base was 181,007.02 Band D equivalent properties.
Before Wiltshire Council can set the Council Tax rate for 2013/14 in February the Council Tax base has to be approved.