6th January 2021

Spending increase won’t be passed on to households

At last night’s Full Council Meeting, Town Councillors agreed the budget for the financial year 2021-2022, with an increase in Town Council spending across several key areas, including taking on and maintaining places and spaces from Wiltshire Council, maintaining the council’s ongoing response to the Covid-19 public health emergency and tackling the Climate and Ecological Emergencies.

The increase in spending amounts to £73,100 on the 2020-21 budget.  However, Councillors agreed to maintain the Precept, (the small proportion of households’ Council Tax that is raised directly for the Town Council), at the same level as last year. Therefore, there will be no increase in the precept in 2021-22, with the increase in spending instead being funded from Town Council reserve funds.

Deputy Mayor and Chair of the Environment & Planning Committee, Cllr Alex Kay, said:

“I’m particularly glad to see a significant portion of this budget directed towards Climate and Ecological Emergency measures, including green space management and tree-planting.

In these times of Covid-19, perhaps more than ever, we gain so much solace from thriving natural environments, whilst it is also vital that we take urgent steps to address catastrophes in the future.  It is great to be able to support the community in this way for the long term.”

Cllr Dom Newton, Leader of the Town Council said:

“As noted in the Resources meeting prior to the Christmas break, given current levels of uncertainty, now is not the time to be levying further charges on household incomes. The ongoing economic repercussions of the pandemic and as-yet unclear effects of the Brexit deal have to be taken into account.

It has also taken considerably longer for Wiltshire Council to hand over assets to the Town Council than previously envisaged – meaning that monies have been raised to help cover those increased expenditures in previous years, adding to the ample reserves held by the Town Council. We cannot, therefore, justify a further increase at this time, when so many are struggling financially.”

We will be releasing details of spending plans, accommodated by the new budget, in due course.

Other public authorities which make up the remaining elements of household Council Tax are yet to confirm their proposals. Visit https://www.wiltshire.gov.uk/benefits-council-tax for updates in the future.