Wiltshire Council has said that its proposed council tax rise of 4.99 per cent - the maximum amount permitted by the government – is necessary for the county.

The plans were included in the budget proposals recently unveiled by the council for the next two financial years, and include a 2.99 per cent rise for the council’s element of the tax, as well as a 2 per cent levy for adult social care.

According to Councillor Nick Botterill, cabinet member for finance, this total rise of 4.99 per cent is equivalent to an increase of £1.65 per week for people living in a Band D property.

For these residents, this equates to roughly £85 per year.

In a public webinar on Thursday, February 1, he said: “This proposal to increase council tax, although it is not an easy one, I believe it is a necessary one.”

Councillor Nick Botterill said the rise was due to costs such as high energy bills and inflation.

He added: “I did not come into local government to put up taxes.”

The leader of the council, Councillor Richard Clewer, also spoke to residents on the topic, noting that raising council tax was “never an easy thing to do.”

He said: “If you look where we are as a council, we are not going to be closing a single leisure centre, a single library, a single household recycling centre.

“We are investing, we’re not cutting.

“Part of the reason we can do that is because we do have to raise the amount of tax we bring in to deal with the impacts of inflation in other areas.”

The proposals show that the council tax requirement would be set at £351.077 million for 2024/25, whilst the council’s proposed overall budget stands at £486 million.

The council is forecasting a “small underspend” of approximately £634,000 for the same financial year, as a result of its “robust financial management.”

This comes as an increasing number of councils across the country declare bankruptcy, with one in five council leaders predicting they will issue a section 114 bankruptcy notice by March next year.

During the webinar, councillor Richard Clewer said: “Councils all over the country are burning their reserves to balance their budget.

“We are not. We are in a very secure position.

"We are not at risk of going bankrupt.”