Residents in Oxford have until Sunday (31/01) to have their say on Council’s corporate strategy and budget proposals.
The consultation, which has been open since 10 December, closes at midnight on 31 January 2021, with the final decision to be made by Council on 17 February 2021.
The Budget proposals set out how the Council is seeking to balance its finances despite the £29 million impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has to date only been partially offset by £8 million in support from Government.
The Council has seen a sharp increase in expenditure to support those in need, together with a sharp reduction in income from leisure centres, town hall room hire, car parks, rents from commercial premises, and earnings from its wholly owned companies Oxford Direct Services Ltd (ODS) and Oxford City Housing Ltd (OCHL).
The proposals include how the Council is plans to protect frontline service delivery, while seeking £9.57 million of efficiencies and increased income over four year period. The Council is proposing to meet many of the one-off costs of COVID-19 by spending approximately £11.8 million of its £40 million in reserves and balances.
The Council also plans to facilitate a rapid expansion in returns from its wholly owned businesses that will deliver over £36 million in interest payments and dividends to the Council over the next four years.
At the same time the Council will continue to coordinate the citywide response to the COVID-19 pandemic; work that is expected to stretch well into the new financial year and potentially beyond.
The budget aims to address the Council’s key corporate priorities which are:
- Enable an inclusive economy
- Support thriving communities
- Deliver more affordable housing and tackling homelessness
- Pursue a zero carbon Oxford
- Efficiencies and increased income
A more detailed breakdown of the proposals can be found in the Council’s press release published on 1 December.