Vale of White Horse District Council is setting out budget plans which protect front line services, continue to support local residents and businesses through the pandemic and help stabilise the council’s finances for the medium term.
The proposed budget would result in an increase of less than 10p per week on Band D Council Tax. Annual council tax will be £141.69 for services provided by the district council, up from £136.69 this year. The Vale currently has the 15th lowest council tax in the country for a shire district and significantly lower than the national average of £194.22.
Cllr Andy Crawford, Cabinet Member for Finance at Vale of White Horse District Council, said: “This year we are required to adopt a budget under extremely challenging circumstances. As a result of Covid-19, we have had to re-direct significant resources in order to provide additional vital support for our residents and local businesses.
“We recently adopted our new 2020-2025 Corporate Plan and we will continue to work towards our key priorities such as working as a council and with others to tackle the climate emergency, and to ensure our own long-term financial stability.
“Like many councils, we still face significant financial challenges and continue to urge the government to address this situation as a matter of urgency, otherwise there is a genuine risk, as we have already seen elsewhere, that vital public services could be put at risk.”
Since the pandemic began, the district council has re-allocated significant resources in order to provide vital support for residents and businesses across the district. This has included: administering more than 3,300 Covid-19 grant payments to local businesses totalling £21 million.
We provided the new Community Support Hub, supporting 5,208 vulnerable residents, including providing direct assistance for 785 people. It is currently expected that this work will need to continue well into 2021.
The council’s income also remains significantly affected by the Covid-19 restrictions.
Like many councils, the Vale still faces significant financial challenges which have been caused by years of reduced funding from government, and the lack of clarity about the future of local authority financing. Along with the other Oxfordshire councils, the Vale has repeatedly called on the government to urgently provide additional funding to help ensure the future of vital public services.
The budget report will be considered by the council’s Cabinet on 5 February and then at Scrutiny Committee on 8 February, before being debated and voted on at the full Council meeting on 10 February.
The budget report and papers can be viewed under item 10 here – http://democratic.whitehorsedc.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=507&MId=2746