People living in towns and villages across west Wiltshire will be paying more for local services this year, after several councils set their tax rate for 2014/15 this week.
Most of the increases have been made to cover a cut in the cash the smaller councils get from Wiltshire Council, because of a change in the way it gets government money. Councils now only get financial support for homes that do not receive housing benefit.
Trowbridge Town Council agreed to increase its council tax precept by 12.5 per cent on Tuesday, to compensate for the support grant being cut by the Government.
Annually, those living in Band D homes will now be charged £137.92 instead of £122.63, so the town council could cope with a grant reduction of £69,245.
“I know why the precept has gone up here – the coalition Government cocked up,” said Trowbridge Town and Wiltshire Independent councillor Jeff Osborn, pictured.
Warminster Town Council is to increase its precept by 10 per cent, meaning an annual increase of £7.37, from £73.70 to £81.07 for Band D properties, which works out as 14p a week, as the town’s support grant falls from £55,028 to £35,768.
The decision was confirmed at a full council meeting on Monday, with nine members voting for and four voting against.
Melksham Without Parish Council’s tax rate has been increased by just under 10 per cent. The council, which covers areas around the town including Bowerhill, Beanacre, Shaw Atworth and Whitley, unanimously approved the rise on Monday. The new precept will make an average household bill £41.63.
Parish clerk Mary Jarvis said: “It would be a 9.75 per cent increase, or an extra 7p per week for an average Band D property, so it’s quite low.”
Bradford on Avon Town Council voted unanimously on Tuesday to increase its precept by 12.05 per cent, meaning an annual increase of £10.98, from £91.12 to £102.10 for Band D properties – 21.1p a week – and will cover the support grant fall from £32,583 down to £21,179.07.
Last financial year, £1.4m from the government was needed to cover the precepts of all Wiltshire’s town and parish councils. Wiltshire Council only got £1.1m and topped up the shortfall from its own funds. In November it decided it could not afford to do that again, and a 35 per cent reduction was agreed.