The following is a message from Wiltshire Council:

Wiltshire Council’s proposed budget has been published. It sets out how we will continue to deliver quality and vital services over the next three financial years through this unpredictable time amid a cost-of-living crisis, while also delivering on our Business Plan priorities.

The proposals also outline a significant increase in spending to ensure the county remains a place that people want to live in, work and visit.

An additional £69m, before savings, has been added into the 2023/24 service budgets to cover inflation and demand for services. More than £42m of that additional spend will go towards services protecting the most vulnerable in society.

Following the extraordinary national inflation rate, which currently sits at 10.5%, the growing cost-of-living crisis driven by high energy costs, and the continued impact of the pandemic, this remains a very challenging time for virtually all local authorities up and down the country.

£465m budget for 2023/24

The proposed budget for 2023/24 stands at £465m. We are legally obliged to set a balanced budget and the proposed measures are intended to ensure there is a strong financial foundation in place over the coming years during such an unpredictable time.

The most significant spending in 2023/24 will be on:

  • Whole life pathway (mental health, autism spectrum conditions and learning disabilities support services) – £96m, an increase of £11m
  • Living and aging well (adult care) – £83m, an increase of £15m
  • Families and children – £63m, an increase of £2m
  • Environment (which includes waste and recycling services) – £48m, an increase of £4m
  • Highways and transport – £41m, an increase of £3m
  • Education and skills – £29m, an increase of £6m

Proposing a balanced budget

The council’s last reported budget gap for 2023/24 to 2025/26 in November stood at around £45m, but following confirmation of the Government’s financial settlement this was brought down to around £33m. However, through careful planning the council’s cabinet is proposing a balanced budget for this three-year period, which does not require the council to use reserves to fund ongoing service delivery. The council is also in a position to release £13m of reserves to spend on business priorities, particularly in supporting housing provision during the cost of living crisis.

Council tax proposal

The Government has allowed councils greater flexibility in how they set their council tax. As a result, in 2023/24 Wiltshire Council is proposing a 2.99% general increase for the council’s element of council tax, plus a 2% levy to be spent solely on adult social care. This will mean an increase of £1.57 per week for those in a Band D property. Around 84% of the council’s core funding comes from local taxes, business rates and council tax, so it is necessary to increase these to provide the types of services that people rely on.

Have your budget questions answered at public webinar on 25 January

We are hosting a public webinar on 25 January from 5.30pm for you to hear more about the budget proposals from Wiltshire Council Leader Cllr Richard Clewer

If you want to join in all you need to do is click on this link on 25 January at 5.30pm. You can also ask any questions in advance by emailing co************@wi*******.uk by 24 January. There will also be an opportunity for questions to be asked during the webinar itself.

If you can’t make it on the night, the webinar will be recorded and made available on Wiltshire Council’s website and shared on social media the following day (26 January).

For the best experience, download Microsoft Teams to your computer or mobile device to access the webinar.

Find out more

No final decisions on the proposals have been made, and prior to being discussed and debated at Full Council on 21 February, they will be scrutinised by various groups.

More information about the budget proposals, including a link to all the associated papers, can be found on our website.