Oxford residents have two weeks left to take part in a public consultation that will help set the City Council’s future strategy and budget.
The City Council launched the consultation on its draft corporate strategy and budget proposals in December.
Both consultations will close on Friday 31 January.
The corporate strategy covers 2020 to 2024 and sets out the high-level aims and outcomes the City Council aims to achieve.
The draft objectives are:
- Enable an inclusive economy – Oxford needs a more inclusive economy in which wealth is distributed across our communities and where all citizens can share the benefits of growth.
- Deliver more, affordable housing – Intervention is needed to address Oxford’s housing crisis where existing homes are unaffordable for many and demand for good quality homes outstrips what is available.
- Support thriving communities – Oxford’s diverse communities should be equipped, supported and enabled to tackle inequality and ensure everyone is able to play a full part in the life of our city.
- Pursue a zero carbon Oxford – The clear message from Oxford’s Citizens’ Assembly on Climate Change is that citizens want the city to continue to take a lead in reducing emissions and increasing biodiversity, while ensuring this does not impact citizens’ living standards.
The budget proposals set out how these draft objectives will be funded, whilst the City Council balances its budget, over the next four years.
The proposals include:
- £136m over four years to build 620 new council homes
- Increasing the homelessness budget so, from 2020/21, the City Council will spend £7.4m a year on homelessness services
- £1m of revenue and £18m of capital funding for a wide range of work, including retrofitting council homes, to tackle the climate emergency
- Investing in new buildings at Bullingdon and East Oxford community centres
- Continuing the Council Tax Reduction Scheme, £1.4m of grants to community groups, and free swimming and youth clubs for young people
- £67m for purchase of new commercial property for investment and regeneration
The City Council will make this investment while protecting front-line services, in part because the City Council has successfully used in-sourcing – rather than out-sourcing to private businesses – to generate income. This is described as ‘the Oxford Model’.
The budget proposals are against the backdrop of almost a decade of austerity and the Government’s decision to completely cut the Revenue Support Grant.
“Despite almost a decade of deep cuts to local authorities, the City Council is proposing another balanced budget that protects front-line services while investing millions of pound to build new homes for Oxford families, tackle homelessness, invest in communities, and fight the existential threat of the climate emergency.
“I would encourage everyone who lives and works in Oxford to read the corporate strategy and budget proposals and have their say on the future of both their local authority and their city before the deadline of Friday 31 January.”
Councillor Ed Turner, Cabinet Member for Finance