WITNEY Town Council has agreed to increase its precept by 20 per cent to fund capital projects in the coming financial year.

The increase, agreed at a full council meeting on Monday, will see the authority’s share of tax bills rise from £100.51 to £121.24 per year for owners of average Band D properties in April.

The council needs to raise £150,000 to replenish its general reserve fund and £150,000 to invest in capital projects.

Speaking after the meeting Mayor Harry Eaglestone said: "Putting next year’s council tax up is a decision that has not been taken lightly.

“This increase, which is about the third of the cost of a loaf of bread (approximately 40p per week) on a Band D property, is unfortunately necessary to maintain ageing council assets and continue to run services at a good level, as well as other things such as legislative changes, rectifying vandalism and rising utility bills.

“At £2.33 per week on a Band D property, I still think the precept represents value for money for the services Witney enjoys.”

Meanwhile, Carterton Town Council has also agreed to increase its precept by 20 per cent from April.

The council said it needed to raise £35,000 for new recurring costs, including supporting the youth centre and new grounds maintenance contracts, and investing £35,000 to move the town’s market to a new site.

Mayor Ady Coomber said: “The precept has been held at the same level per dwelling for the past three years and this has resulted in a decrease in real terms.

“We are committed to actively pursuing improvements to the town centre, to build on the arrival of Morrisons with a new market square and also to improve recreational facilities in the town, therefore the precept will be increased to £388,000 to help fund this programme of work.”

Town and parish councils, which are exempt from the Government increase cap of two per cent, are added to district, county and police precepts to make up the full council tax bill.

The district and county councils have not finalised their precept increases. Thames Valley Police's precept will rise by two per cent.