County Council budget proposals include £19.6m of savings
Council says plans offer frontline services high levels of protection and new investment
Oxfordshire County Council has announced it’s budget proposals for the 2021/22 financial year which includes £19.6million worth of savings. They say the plans do give frontline services high levels of protection and new investment.
According to the County Council, the proposals include a commitment to strengthening their approach towards climate action, an enhanced focus on addressing inequality, developing its youth offer and delivering its COVID-19 recovery strategy.
The £19.6m worth of savings are being proposed across all services. However the County Council says £14.6m of these savings were already planned and are centred on the transformation of services to make them more efficient while protecting the frontline.
Councillor Ian Hudspeth, Leader of Oxfordshire County Council, said: “Protecting those in need will always be our priority. Budget pressures mean we will have to continue to find ways to save money while protecting frontline services – moving services online, where appropriate, and generating more income.
“Alongside all local authorities, we face a loss of income and other impacts on services due to COVID-19 and the uncertainty of government funding as a whole. Added to this, our population is growing and ageing at one of the fastest rates in our history, which puts more pressure on our budgets and services”.
Within the budget, proposed investments include £1m to expand the youth offer in Oxfordshire, an extra £4m added to the adult social care budget and money to continue supporting the Better Care Fund so people can be discharged from hospital and supported.
An extra £400,000 is ear-marked for highway maintenance focussing on additional vegetation and drainage clearance and supporting a trial currently enabling parish councils to implement 20mph schemes.
The County Council’s costs saving plans include a reduction of £100,000 on the winter service. They says this would not change the current network of roads treated during the winter months and there would be no change for this winter. They also propose they could raise an estimated £225,000 by fining companies which are late completing roadworks.
In addition £1m is saved in the proposals by “maximising use of existing contracted capacity and looking at creative ways to meet needs at a lower cost” for adults with care support need. Joint working between the county council’s and Cherwell’s property team is estimated to save £1.95m together with finding more efficient ways of working.
Follow the experiences of a different way of working during 2020, longer-lasting changed ways of working for staff could save £750,000 on travel budgets and £100,000 on printing.
Councillor Ian Hudspeth said: “We are proposing both savings and investments in priority areas and consulting the public on what we know now. As we move through the winter, the situation may change as our knowledge of financial support available from central government increases. In the meantime, we want to hear people’s views on our proposals – which include a council tax rise of 1.99 per cent with the option of an additional increase, up to three per cent, for adult social care. This will help inform our decisions during the budget process.”
You can have your say on these initial budget proposals until 13 January by visiting www.oxfordshire.gov.uk/budgetconsultation.
Published: by Banbury FM Newsteam