Wiltshire Fire Service is only able to ask for an increase in this year’s council tax of £2.17 for Band D taxpayers - just 4p a week.

That’s less than half of what bosses at the service, which covers Swindon, Wiltshire and Dorset wanted.

Councillors who sit on the fire authority - which exerts political control and

decision-making over the service will meet next week to set the budget for the next year.

They will be asked to approve a revenue budget - for day to day operational spending - of £55.8m and a capital budget of £8.4.

This comes in the face of a significant cut in government funding.

The report to the councillors says: “Our overall level of government funding shows a decrease of £467,000 or 3.2 per cent compared to 2018-19.

“This is in line with our expectations but remains one of the highest funding reductions for combined fire authorities.”

That cut may be one of the reasons why the fire service had hoped for a much bigger council tax precept increase of £5 as a minimum.

The report says: “In spite of efforts to lobby for a £5 minimum increase in the fire precept, the final settlement only allows a 2.99 per cent increase for the coming year.

“This results in a Band D fire precept of £74.87, an increase of only £2.17 or 4p per week.”

The authority budget meeting is at 10am on Tuesday February 12 at Five Rivers Centre in Salisbury.