Last week I attended a debate on local government financing in Westminster Hall. I have been strongly campaigning for a better settlement for Wiltshire. It is unfair that areas like Wiltshire will get less than metropolitan areas when services in rural areas cost more and we have an above average ageing population. The net result of the provisional local government funding settlement is that, over a four year period, there will be a 39.9% reduction in the amount of money that Wiltshire receives from the Government for its local government services. This compares to an average cut of 19% for the metropolitan authorities.
There may be more council tax recuperated in Wiltshire than some of the metropolitan areas but there is often a higher cost to provide services and our residents deserve value for money and adequate services for their council tax. I have been pushing the Secretary of State to readdress the first two years of the settlement when Wiltshire will be badly hit so that all residents get the services that they deserve and value for money. I have written to him and met with him as well as written to the Prime Minister on this matter. This afternoon there will be a statement to the House on the matter – I will be watching to see if we now have a better deal for Wiltshire.