West Oxfordshire District Council has today launched a consultation on the plans for its budget for the next financial year as the council looks to manage the increased costs of inflation to continue to deliver local services and invest in the district.
Councillor Dan Levy, Cabinet Member for Finance, said; “The district council is facing a number of financial challenges as a result of increased costs due to inflation, over a decade of funding cuts from Government and the expectation that Government will further reduce funding for local services.
“However, while we have challenges, we are confident that through sensible management of our limited funding we can continue to deliver good local services and also have opportunities to invest in the things we know matter to local residents.
“We have announced this year, £750,000 of one-off money to invest in local projects that we know matter, including £200,000 to support communities through the cost of living crisis, £100,000 for Youth Initiatives, £100,000 for Environment and Community Projects and £75,000 additional funding to replace two street sweepers with electric vehicles instead of diesel.”
“In this budget for the next financial year we are directing our funding at maintaining the services you use and continuing to look at how we tackle the climate emergency, how we support communities and the other priorities you fed back to us during our recent consultation on our Council Plan.
“We will also continue to work closely with local partners such as the county council and police to pool resources and approach local challenges together to do more for local communities.
“On top of this we are continually working on improving the services you receive and also looking at how we can be more efficient so you get more for your money.”
The combination of inflation and funding cuts have created a budget gap of almost £2m and recent announcements from the Government suggest funding for local councils will continue to decrease after over a decade of funding cuts that have reduced council funding by around 60%.
The Council has today launched a consultation on its budget plans for the 2023/24 financial year on its new engagement platform so residents can provide feedback on the plans before the Council makes a decision on its spending in February next year.
The district council only receives around 10% of a council tax bill, with the rest going to the county council, fire service, police and parish councils. With that money the council delivers over 50 services including waste collections, planning services, help for homeless people, leisure centres and many others.
Cllr Levy continued, “I would encourage all residents of the district to visit our consultation site to give their views on our budget and I look forward to hearing that feedback before we set out a final budget.”
Residents can take part in the consultation by visiting the Council’s website at www.westoxon.gov.uk/budget
Physical copies of the consultation questions will also be available in the council offices in Witney.