West Oxfordshire District Council has announced that it has agreed on the budget for the upcoming 2023/24 financial year, following a consultation with communities.
The consultation ran from the beginning of December 2022 and ended on the 12th January 2023, allowing people in communities to let the council know how they believe their money should be spent.
The council will be looking at focusing on maintaining the services that it is providing for the people who live in the area, as well as tackling the ongoing climate emergency and further supporting communities. The decision on the budget does come at a time when councils around the country are having their funding cut even further by the government, alongside the increasing costs and inflation, an issue that isn’t expected to get better any time soon.
Speaking about what went into the budget decision was Councillor Dan Levy, Cabinet Member for Finance, who 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 yet again a real terms cut in our funding for this year from Government.
“However, while we have challenges, we are confident that though 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 consulted with residents on how we managed our budget this year and I would like to thank the hundreds of residents who responded, We have looked at every response and they have helped us set this budget, which we believe is a good value budget for local residents.
“One of the main things you asked us to do in your consultation responses was protect the local services you use, so that is where we are directing our funding for next year. We also want to continue 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 continue to work closely with local partners such as the County Council and Police to pool resources approach local challenges together to do more for local communities. This includes looking at where we can bring in external funding to help support communities, which we have had success with recently.
“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. Although there is very limited money available, the Council has prioritised urgent and important areas, and recognises that difficult decisions cannot be deferred.”
Leader of West Oxfordshire District Council, Cllr Andy Graham, added:
“Before a local authority can establish and develop a budget, we need to finish our Strategic Plan, because we need to determine the best ways to allocate funds. We have done that and we have consulted with residents, community groups and businesses and produced our Council Plan which clearly sets out our priorities.
“We, in West Oxfordshire, are doing our part to change that by engaging with our community, keeping them more informed and engaged. We are addressing the climate emergency, the regeneration of our towns and villages. The sports pavilions for pitches in partnership with football clubs, parishes and towns. We cannot do all this alone. Partnership is the key, meaningful partnership that gives delegated and added responsibility to our town and parish councils to ensure we, together, are delivering in the most effective way.”