Oxford City Council wants to hear from residents on plans for its 2323/24 Budget. But time is running out – the consultation closes on 31 January.
The financial situation
Every year, the City Council spends around £100 million providing everyday public services. Finances continue to be impacted from the fallout from Covid. Car parking income is recovering but is still less than pre-Covid levels as are Town Hall bookings and leisure centre attendances. Rental income from Council-owned shops and offices show signs of recovery but arrears accrued over the pandemic period remain difficult to collect. There are also substantial cost pressures, for instance from the rising cost of energy.
Proposals for Council Tax
The draft budget proposes a Council Tax rise of 2.99% from April 2023, an increase of £9.76 per year, or 19 pence a week for a band D household. It also proposes a new Council Tax hardship scheme, continuation of full Council Tax relief for those on the lowest incomes and charging a 100% Council Tax premium on second homes when allowed to do so.
The strategy will also consider:
- further use of reserves
- continuing to support OX Place and Oxford Direct Services to deliver houses and front line services. This will deliver substantial financial returns back to the Council
- £26 million of efficiencies and increased income from fees and charges leading to ongoing increases of £10 million annually with effect from 2026-27
- reducing the office footprint and encouraging staff to work from home, restructuring management tiers, making new use of technology, reviewing procurement of goods and services and progressing access to more services on line.
“Once again we are proposing a balanced budget that protects services, invests in new homes and communities, tackles homelessness, and takes on the climate emergency.
“For anyone who lives or works in Oxford, this is your chance to have a say into how we spend money on the services we provide – to help us shape the future of the city.”
Councillor Ed Turner, Cabinet Member for Finance and Asset Management
To take part in the consultation, visit the Budget Consultation webpage.