COUNCIL leader Jane Scott has vowed to stand up for the county after getting the backing from fellow councillors to oppose plans to place a cap on town and parish councils.

A united front was shown by all at full council in County Hall on Tuesday as Baroness Scott proposed a motion to respond to the government’s consultation to impose the cap.

This would force parish and town councils to hold a referendum if they wanted to put up their precepts by more than two per cent.

She told councillors that, in her opinion, the level of precept should be decided locally and not by the government.

“Our town and parishes are taking our view very seriously in Wiltshire that people need to do more for themselves,” she said.

“We have had discussions with our towns and parishes and sometimes it has been quite difficult over the past few years.

“But they have taken it on board and they are beginning to precept for things which are a priority in their community.

“To suggest they couldn’t have the ability to do that in the future, I feel quite strongly that shouldn’t happen in government.”

In a protest at the proposal, Baroness Scott has warned all town and parish councils about the cap. She now wants to meet Communities Secretary Sajid Javid MP.

She added: “If you work out in a parish council the cost of a referendum to put the precept up by five per cent, it would take most parish councils three or four years to pay for the referendum let alone have more money in the precept. The whole thing is crazy.”

“The more responses we get from Wiltshire on this issue the stronger our case is and I will do everything I can but with your backing that this doesn’t get in anywhere near the statute book.”

All political parties were united in concerns. Melksham councillor Jon Hubbard said: “It would be good if we united as one voice in this council and say no, this is not good.”

Bradford on Avon councillor Magnus McDonald added: “Proposing another set of referendums would be an absolute nightmare.”

He added: “Coming from Bradford on Avon I’m well aware of the affects of referendums. We have had two already.

“Proposing yet another set of referendums is an absolute nightmare. I completely support Jane’s motion and to have the cap would completely mess up our community asset transfer process and it would make it pointless to do anything for our towns.”