Tough time ahead

Wiltshire Council’s ruling Conservatives have said they will protect front-line services and freeze council tax in next year’s budget but cannot rule out more job losses.

Last week the Government announced the grant it will give to local councils and said the cut in funding to Wiltshire Council will be 1.7 per cent, but the council thinks it will actually be about four per cent. Wiltshire Council officials are still analysing the figures.

Council Cabinet member Fleur de Rhe-Philipe described the grant settlement as “tough” but said the council had to get on with making savings.

She said: “It’s going to be difficult but we are resigned and philosophical about it. We understand the Government’s problems. They have got to reduce the national deficit which means everyone will have a hard time.

“What we are determined to do is to protect front-line services. We have our core responsibilities to look after the young, the elderly and those in between and trying to keep up with road maintenance.

“The things that are really important for the people of Wiltshire we will try and protect by tighter administration and finding new ways of working.”

“I think it is inevitable there may be a few job losses but not, I think, on the major scale we have seen before,” she said.

She said the Cabinet would recommend to full council that the council tax bill should be frozen as it has been for the past few years.

She said: “We are not putting up council tax because we think people are facing sufficient challenges with increases in energy and fuel bills without adding to it.”

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