TAXPAYERS in Swindon could see their council tax rise by 1.8 per cent if cabinet proposals are passed in two weeks’ time.

The level of increase for 2010/2011 was announced at last night’s cabinet meeting at the civic offices and will be put to full cabinet on February 22.

This compares to a 3.5 per cent rise in 2009/2010.

At the meeting, Conservative councillors outlined the pressures they had been under to ensure the level balanced out demand to deliver services with a reasonable tax on the people in the current economic climate.

However, the budgeting for services like adult social care was described as a high risk strategy by opposition leader Coun Derique Montaut.

Leader of the council Rod Bluh said, in light of many residents losing their jobs, the council did not to make financial “pressures any more burdensome than they already are.

“We want to have a rate of council tax as low as we can get it.”

Coun Mark Edwards, cabinet member for finance and benefits, said the budget had been hampered by increasing demands in areas like adult social care and by a lowering of people’s income in the economic downturn.

He said if the council had sat back and not acted on these pressures, council tax could have risen by 15 per cent.

Earlier in the evening it was pointed out that adult social care would become a growing issue as people lived longer and the complexity of their needs increased with conditions like dementia.

Coun Edwards said: “We have to balance the needs of services with the costs of providing them.

“We have mitigated most of the impact for most of the services.

“I’m confident that what we have is a robust budget that will deliver for the people of Swindon whilst we continue to be sensitive to the most vulnerable in society in areas like adult social care.”

Councillor Nick Martin questioned how the decrease in predicted spending in the house and social care bracket from £48,600,000 in 2009 to 2010 to this year’ budget of £47,156,000 was being achieved.

Coun Mark Edwards said adult social care was a complex area with many uncertainties about the future demands on the service.

He said: “We believe this year will deliver the robust savings programmes we haven’t been delivering in the past.”

Coun Bluh said to have managed an affordable council tax increase in such difficult circumstances was a massive achievement for the council.

“It’s the sort of commitment that will be needed next year and the year after to keep making sure we come in with the best possible result we can achieve.”

Coun Derique said after the meeting: “This is an accounting exercise that they have gone through.

“It’s a high risk that could affect the most vulnerable in our society.”