A COUNCIL Tax increase of six per cent will see residents paying on average, an extra £80 per year for Wiltshire Council services.

Councillors at the budget meeting that took place at the Council Chamber, County Hall, in Trowbridge on Tuesday, took just 30 minutes to pass the proposals, with all but one member voting in favour of the steep rise.

The result of the decision means that the average Band D property will be paying almost £80 more per year.

The Band D figure for the forthcoming year is £1,414 - up from £1,334 in 2017/18.

Previously, Wiltshire Council had overseen a prolonged freeze on council tax, with no increases between 2010 and 2016.

But the council was already in a £26million black hole before a loss of government grants doubled that figure, leading it to attempt to make about £25million in savings.

During the meeting on Tuesday, councillors argued over whether Wiltshire Council had been sensible or reckless to freeze the council tax between 2010 and 2016.

Cllr Phillip Whitehead for Wiltshire Council said during the debate that the budget was not a reactive budget and it had been forecasted two years ago.

If the tax increase happened between 2010 and 2016, residents would already be £1,300 out of pocket due to the rises, he said at the meeting.

With the proposals being passed, residents will now pay an extra 22p a day or £1.54 a week for their council services.

Cllr Ian Thorn, Liberal Democrat leader on Wiltshire Council said the increase in council tax would be a challenge for many people.

He said: “This increase will be hard to bear for many residents in Wiltshire.

“Sadly, many people will be paying more for less.

“This is bad news for Wiltshire residents, workers and many people who rely on their services.”

The budget meeting also featured a number of other noticeable changes.

Amongst them were plans to reduce the current number of council posts from 3,200 to 3,100, a reduction of 100 posts.

The Council stressed that this did not mean 100 redundancies and would include “restructuring” of current roles.

There is £6.6 million of savings signposted in adult social care, despite an ever-increasing demand on services and the third largest older population in the country, with 100,000 of 475,000 residents over the age of 65.

The Liberal Democrats did have one motion successfully passed, Cllr Brian Mathew’s motion to assess the feasibility of scaling up the ‘Shared Lives’ programme in Wiltshire.