Calne town councillors, who set their 2013/14 budget last week, have decided not to increase the precept.

The need to raise precepts has been discussed nationally because the responsibility for council tax benefit is being moved from central to local government.

On top of this the council tax base, against which the precept is divided to give the actual council tax charged to residents, is being adjusted downwards.

Calne town clerk Linda Roberts said in effect this reduction could have meant a deficit of £163,000 in the amount of precept received by the council this year.

Wiltshire Council has been given a grant from central government to fill part of the gap this year, but there is no guarantee of this next year.

At a meeting of the full town council last Monday, mayor Roy Golding spoke in favour of a precept increase.

He said: “I live on one of the most deprived wards in Calne. I know where you are at, but this is a very small rise this year to facilitate a rise next year.

“If you don’t increase this year, it will be a very big rise next year.”

But following a discussion, councillors decided against a rise in the precept and 14 out of 15 councillors present voted against it.

Calne town councillor Paul Venton said: “I think what we should be doing is looking at ways of saving money.

“There needs to be a hard look at the services we provide.”