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Warminster to suffer funding 'double whammy'

(December 16, 2008)

WARMINSTER is set to miss out on money from the new Wiltshire Council as its area board will be underfunded, visionforwarminster can reveal.

The area board for Warminster is set to receive £47,000 in its first year but we understand that other area boards, representing smaller populations, will get significantly more.

Councillors have decided that each area board will be given a minimum £25,000 plus extra funds allocated according to levels of ‘sparcity and deprivation’.

Town councils in Trowbridge and Chippenham as well as councillors in Salisbury are believed to have already objected to this idea as they also miss out.

These towns are not by and large represented by the ruling Conservative group but by Lib-Dem and Labour councillors.

We suggest that funding should be distributed fairly on a strict per capita basis.

“I was amazed when I heard about this as it means we in Warminster are hit with the famous ‘double whammy’,” said former county councillor Steve Dancey.

“Wiltshire’s education and social services already miss out massively because of the discredited Barnett funding formula which skews resources towards Labour voting areas in the north and in Scotland and Wales.

“Now we find that our own council is adopting a mini version of the Barnett formula to distribute money around Wiltshire.

“We are hit by Labour gerrymandering at national level and now this by local Tories.

“Deprivation is a very difficult thing to measure and I expect they will have looked at free school meals as an indicator. This works against Warminster for a variety of reasons.

“However is you were to use the ‘percentage of the population who are graduates’ as an indicator Warminster East would be one of the most deprived in the county.”

A letter will be sent to the leader of the council, Mrs Jane Scott, outlining our concerns and we would hope that our town councillors, who mostly belong to Mrs Scott’s political party, could add their voices.

We also understand that 20 per cent of the funding to the board is also likely to ‘ring-fenced’ for the community area partnership. We’d like to know how the members of this partnership are chosen locally.

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