County Councillor says government claims of extra cash are all “smoke and mirrors”


Oxfordshire County Council’s funding gap has risen to £11.2m

The Oxfordshire County Councillor in charge of finances says government claims of extra funding for local government are all “smoke and mirrors”.  

The County Council has a funding gap for next year of £11.2m.   That has risen from £9.1m after central government grant funding support came in at less than they anticipated.

In November the County Council set out its proposals to save more than £9.8 million in the next financial year.  

Central government told councils how much funding they would be receiving in December on local government settlement day.   This was a lower amount than expected.

Councillor Dan Levy, Oxfordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Finance, said: “We did not receive any additional money to close what was a £9.1m gap when we first published our draft budget in late November.

“The government has spoken widely about a 6.5 per cent increase of funding to local government. Sadly, this is a case of smoke and mirrors. This increase assumes councils take the maximum council tax rise and includes funding announced this time last year. There is nothing new in this sum at all.

“Local government as a whole has expressed its deep disappointment. We are clearly now going to have to take some really tough decisions.”

“As has been known since late November our budget proposals for 2024/25 already include more than £9.8m of savings. The whole of local government was already looking at the second half of the decade with great concern and the government’s announcement on 18 December did nothing to alleviate those concerns.

“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 and additional savings will need to be found.”

Published: by Banbury FM Newsteam

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