Wiltshire Council has voted to approve a council tax rise of 4.99 per cent, which is the maximum amount permitted by central government.

This amount is equivalent to an increase of £1.65 per week for people living in a Band D property.

The plans were included in the budget proposals which were debated in the full council meeting on Tuesday, February 20.

Councillors voted to formally approve the balanced budget after a lengthy debate between parties in the chamber at Trowbridge County Hall.

Councillor Botterill, cabinet member for finance, said: “This is something that we can take pride in.

“It has spending which is targeted on prevention, it invests in our communities, and it ensures that each and every pound that we spend is spent wisely.”

The council tax requirement is 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.

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.

Independent Councillor Jon Hubbard said: “Very few councils anywhere would be looking at doing anything other than the maximum statutory increase that they can put on their precept, whatever the colour of their leadership, because the funding that comes through to local authorities year on year is less and less, and this year more than ever with inflation and the cost of living challenges.”

The council reports receiving nearly 84 funding of its core funding from local taxes, business rates and council tax.

The leader of the council, Richard Clewer, told councillors: “I would absolutely commend this budget to Wiltshire Council.

“It’s a budget that delivers for people and delivers in an effective way.”

However, the Liberal Democrat group leader, Councillor Ian Thorn, said he did not support the budget, questioning the effectiveness of delivery within the council.

He said: “Ultimately, it’s about delivering and ensuring that Wiltshire residents actually feel that the county cares, the county is doing things, and there are credible signs of change in people’s communities.”

The most significant spending is planned for adult services (£179.4m), families and children (£70.8m), environment (£49.6m), highways and transport (£43m) and education and skills (£38.9m).

Councillor Clewer said: “Our budget ensures we will significantly be investing in key services including highways maintenance, flood prevention, decarbonisation, our leisure services, enforcement and ensuring our town centres are supported to be vibrant places to visit.”