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Council tax going up again by more in Wilts - where's the savings?

(February 05, 2010)
COUNCIL taxes in Wiltshire are set to rise faster than neighbouring counties despite the so-called savings brought about over the last year.
''Many of us were hoping that there would be a unitary dividend as a result of the creation of the new council and the abolition of the useless West Wiltshire District Council,'' said former county member Steve Dancey.
''But no, we are to see rises across Wiltshire averaging 2.3 per cent.''
The rise compares badly with the zero per cent achieved in Somerset and the 1.9 per cent that has been recommended by Hampshire.
We were promised savings running into many millions but that was before the county lost millions playing the field by gambling in Icelandic banks - something Hampshire was wise enough to avoid.
Hampshire's achievement is even greater when it is considered that it receives the lowest central government grant settlement yet still sets a lower precept than many others.
The tiny crumb of comfort for West Wilts is that the increase next year here will be only 1.9 per cent as the different council taxes countywide are gradually 'harmonised'.
Taxes for those living in the old Salisbury and Kennet areas, which were always run more tightly, will have to rise by 2.5 per cent.
Steve Dancey added: ''Many people in the private sector, myself included, have not had a pay rise for 20 months while some have had to endure s short-time working, so to ask for even more to pay those lucky enough to work for the government is a disgrace.''

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