COUNCILLORS have moved one step closer to ratifying the five per cent council tax increase that looks likely to be introduced for the coming financial year.

The Conservative cabinet on Wednesday night voted to approve the budget, which will see a council tax increased of 4.99 per cent for 2018/19.

The decision will be finalised at the next full council meeting on Thursday, February 22.

Addressing fellow cabinet members on Wednesday, David Renard, leader of Swindon Borough Council, spoke of the financial challenges the council has had to face, which mainly encompass a lack of funding from central government and a huge increase in the demand for social care services.

He said: “We face significant financial challenges in local government at the moment and we are trying to deal with it in a strategic way.”

The 4.99 per cent increase will be comprised of 2.99 for basic costs and a further two per cent for adult social care, which will work out as an increase of £62.44 for the average Band D property.

Jim Grant, leader of the Labour Group, asked members if they were confident that they had allocated enough funds to manage adult social care pressures throughout the coming year.

Coun Renard answered in the affirmative, but added: “No authority can be completely sure they have the resources. But on the basis of what we know today, we feel confident the council tax rise is sufficient.”

Coun Brian Ford, the cabinet member for adult health and social care, said: “It’s going to be tight and I am not going to pretend otherwise.”