It is ‘far too early’ to say what the next year’s council tax rates will look like, say council bosses.

At Wiltshire Council’s cabinet meeting on Tuesday, September 8 it was announced that the local authority would be overhauling the previous assumptions about next year’s budget.

The authority clarified that these rates will not be set until February next year, while on October 31, 2020 it will inform Parish and Town Councils of their council tax base. This is the number of properties that will be billed.

Cllr Pauline Church, cabinet member for finance, procurement and commercial investment said: “It’s far too early to say what the final agreed council tax rate will be and there’s a long process before we get to that point.

“We’d like to clarify that our current Medium Term Financial Strategy, which was agreed prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, currently suggests a 1.99 per cent price increase in council tax for 2021/22 and a 1 per cent growth in properties – this does not mean a 2.99 per cent increase in the council tax rate.

“The growth refers to the previously estimated increase in the number of houses built and brought back into use and therefore an increase in the number of households eligible to pay council tax.

“We will continue to review the housing growth figure carefully and our previous assumptions on that so we can accurately account for this in our future budget.

“The final budget, including the council tax rate, will be agreed by councillors in February 2021.

“We are now in the process of looking ahead to the setting of the 2021/22 budget and making sure it supports the ongoing Covid-19 recovery work as well as the more traditional day-to-day services we provide.

“We need to ensure we have the right resources in the right areas and that the council is sustainable.

“Covid-19 has undoubtedly had a huge impact on the way the council works. It has forced us to think a little differently and we are confident our long-term vision will benefit our residents and put us in the best possible position to support Wiltshire’s communities as we head into a somewhat unpredictable future.”