Budget consultation 2018/20
We are asking for views as to how we should prioritise our budget spend for next year.
We are currently preparing our annual budget for 2019-20 and consulting on proposals to increase council tax by an annual average of £5.
Comment on budget proposals
Closing date for comments is 5pm on Friday 18 January 2019.
Cllr Toby Morris, our Cabinet Member for Resources, said “Local government continues to face financial pressures as a result of changes to central government funding and so it’s vital to review our spending each year.
“We’re proposing an average annual council tax increase of £5 for residents and this will help to protect frontline services and allow us to continue to offer free parking and award grants to support work done by voluntary organisations.
“Our proposed increase is minimised because of shared working with Cotswold, Cheltenham and Forest of Dean councils. Working together under the new local authority-owned company, Publica, is proving extremely beneficial.”
We welcome your views by completing the survey above. Alternatively, you can pick up a printed survey from one of our reception points or send written comments to:
Jenny Poole - Chief Finance Officer, West Oxfordshire District Council
New Yatt Road
Witney OX28 1PB
Background to the budget strategy consultation
We are preparing our annual budget for 2019/20 and medium term financial strategy up to 2028/29.
After five years of council tax freezes through the period 2011 to 2015, we faced a significant reduction in funding and difficult choices between increasing council tax and fees and charges or cutting services in the years ahead. To protect services, we increased council tax by £5 per year in April 2016 and April 2017. In April 2018, we achieved the first phase of savings from our new leisure contract with GLL and other efficiency savings and we could reduce the level of the increase to £2.75 (3%).
The financial outlook over the longer term is expected to be challenging. There is a lot of uncertainty over the level of central government funding in April 2020 as the government implements the outcome of its Spending Review 2019. In addition, new funding arrangements will be put in place for local government from the Local Government Fairer Funding Review and a new system of Business Rates Retention.
While we are expecting to receive 70% of central government funding as Retained Business Rates in 2019/20, responsibility for the setting of business rates remains with central government. In 2019/20 the Council will collect around £41 million of business rates in the District but will only retain £3.8 million through the Business Rates Retention system, less than 10%.
The Council is facing a number of significant financial pressures over the forthcoming year with reductions in government funding of in excess of £0.32m and increasing waste and recycling costs of £0.8m.
To respond to both the rising cost of service provision in 2019/20 and the potential for further reduction in central government funding from 2020, the Council plans to increase council tax by £5 in 2019/20.