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Public services remain secure in draft Vale 2024-25 budget

Public services provided by Vale of White Horse District Council remain secure thanks to careful financial management.

This month, district councillors will be asked to approve a budget for 2024-2025 which ensures that residents will continue to receive quality, cost-effective local services. 

Despite the major challenges all councils continue to face, including government funding increases not keeping pace with inflation, council tax limited to a below inflation increase, the continued rise in the cost of living and ongoing economic and political uncertainty, the draft budget that councillors will consider does not propose any reductions to district council services and continues to invest in key areas.

The Vale’s current council tax is the 15th lowest of all shire district councils nationally and 55 per cent lower than the equivalent charge in neighbouring Oxford City.   

The proposed council tax for a Band D property for services provided by Vale of White Horse District Council during 2024-25, for the whole year, is £156.69.  This represents excellent value for money for residents, helping to pay for services, such as: household waste and recycling collections, community support, leisure services, parks and play areas, housing services, planning services, environmental health and licensing. 

Alongside council tax, the proposed budget is further supported by just under £8million in government funding.

Cllr Andy Crawford, Cabinet Member for Finance at Vale of White Horse District Council, said: “I’m very proud of the fact that we’re once again putting forward a balanced budget for approval.  At a time when many local authorities are really struggling, this has ensured that we can now confidently maintain the level of financial stability that’s required to provide key public services for our residents.

“Over the last year, we have continued to invest in our local facilities and we’ve made big strides in making our leisure centres more energy efficient and cost-effective to run.  We secured and provided funding amounting to almost £16 million for local infrastructure projects to support our communities and the rural economy.  We extended our support for families across the district who are being impacted by ongoing cost-of-living living crisis. We allocated £100,000 to support community climate projects and promise to keep doing what we can to help groups across the district take action to tackle climate change locally.  

“When the new administration took control in 2019, the council was facing an unsustainable long term financial position with reserves predicted to be exhausted by 2024/25. Through careful management the Vale’s finances are now much stronger, with reserves in the medium term sufficient to cover our expenditure and protect services.

“However, despite the positive outlook, with major global and national economic and political uncertainty, we must remain vigilant and will be urging the next government to prioritise a long-term funding solution for local government.”

The proposed budget is subject to approval by the Council, with a meeting scheduled for 21 February 2024, where spending proposals, revenue, and capital plans, as well as the council tax, will be discussed and agreed upon.

To view the proposed 2024-2025 Vale of White Horse District Council budget, visit the 16 February 2024 Cabinet meeting agenda page.