Balanced budget set to be proposed at Oxfordshire County Council
Oxfordshire County Council has proposed measures to close its remaining £900,000 budget shortfall for 2024/25.
Measures had already been proposed to address what had become an £11.2m shortfall after central government grant funding announcements failed to provide local government with the required finance to meet the pressures being experienced across the nation.
The proposals form part of the final budget being recommended to the council’s cabinet on 30 January, which will then be decided at the annual budget setting meeting of all 63 county councillors on 20 February.
Councillor Dan Levy, Oxfordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Finance, said: “Councils throughout the country made clear to central government through the Local Government Association and other channels that more funding was needed this year and in following years due to the high levels of pressures in areas such as social care, special educational needs and other services.
“There has been deep disappointment at the failure of government to address these issues.
“Our track record of responsible financial management means that Oxfordshire County Council has been in a more resilient position than many other authorities. However, the overall position is extremely challenging.
“This final batch of proposed measures means we are able to put forward a balanced budget but it has been a difficult process and we know this is mirrored in town and county halls throughout the land. We know that we, and local government as a whole, will continue to face difficult financial challenges in 2025/26 and beyond.
“It remains the case that our budgets for both adults and children’s social care will increase in real-terms after accounting for inflation in 2024, with investments to meet pressures outweighing savings proposals.”
What are the newly proposed measures?
- The county council has been notified that district councils have given a further improved forecast as to how much council tax will be collected in Oxfordshire. This amounts to £300,000.
- The council is able to reduce the amount it puts in contingency funding by £100,000.
- The council’s award-winning innovation hub (iHub) will move to becoming self-financing, which has created a saving of £300,000. It was launched in 2018 by the council to promote innovation in the county. This includes developing solutions on intelligent infrastructure, health, environment and mobility systems, as well as implementing projects to improve the local economy and environment for Oxfordshire’s citizens.
- A series of rises to charges for on-street parking and residents parking permits (helping cover the full costs of maintenance of controlled parking zones), This would raise £200,000 combined.
Detail as regards proposed on-street parking and residents parking changes:
- Abingdon: On-street parking pay and display would rise from £1.10 for one hour (8am to 6pm excluding Sundays and Bank Holidays) to £1.30. Two hours rises from £1.50 to £2.
- Oxford city centre central area (Zone 1): Street parking for one hour would rise from £6.60 to £7.60; two hours from £13.20 to £15.20. Evening parking would also rise from £6.60 to £7.60. Parking for an hour on Saturday rises from £6.60 to £7.60 and from £13.20 to £15.20 for two hours.
- Oxford city centre (Zone 2 including Jericho): Street parking for one hour would rise from £5.50 to £6.30 and for three hours from £16.50 to £19. Street parking for evenings and Sundays would rise from £5.50 to £6.30.
- Wallingford: Street parking for one and a half hours would rise from 70p to 80p.
- Residents parking permits: In Abingdon and Henley-on-Thames, a second batch of 25 visitor permits would rise from £27.50 to £31.50.
- In Oxford, business permits would rise from £44 to £50.50 for three months, £82.50 to £95 for six months and £126.50 to £145 for nine months. An annual permit would rise from £165 to £190. A change of vehicle charge will rise from £22 to £25.
- In Oxford, residents parking permits would rise from £70 to £80 for a first and second car and £140 to £161 for a third car In the Kassam Stadium area a permit would rise from £17.50 to £20.
- In Oxford a traders permit per week would rise from £27.50 to £31.50. A second batch of 25 visitor permits would rise from £27.50 to £31.50.
- In Banbury and Bicester a residents parking permit would rise from £66 to £76 with a second batch of 25 visitor permits rising from £27.50 to £31.50
- In Wantage and Wallingford a residents parking permit would rise from £100 to £110, and a second 25 visitor permits would rise from £25 to £31.50.
- Parking bay suspensions: The charge for the suspension of a parking pay (both pay and display and non pay and display) would rise from £33 to £38.