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Council approves budget and states its opposition to Thames Water price hikes at a weighty February meeting

Budgets, flooding, Thames Water and public toilets were among the topics debated and discussed in the first full Vale of White Horse District Council meeting of 2024. Included in the debate was a motion interrogating Thames Water’s proposal to significantly increase household water bills in the district over the next 6 years. 

Importantly, the Council also approved the 2024-2025 Vale of White Horse District Council Revenue budget and the Capital Programme for 2024/25 to 2028/2029, which is reflected by council leader, Cllr Bethia Thomas, in her latest leader’s statement. There’s more information on the budget on the council’s website. 

The district council met on Wednesday 21 February. The council continues to balance its stable financial position while protecting services and meeting the needs of its most vulnerable residents in its council tax reduction scheme for 2024/2025. 

Council also voted to appoint a chair of council and a vice-chair for the remainder of the municipal year 2023/24.

You can find all the details of the meeting here


A motion opposing Thames Water’s proposed price hike was passed: The motion, put forward by Cllr Emily Smith, noted the council’s concerns around Thames Water’s proposal to increase household water bills to an average of £735 by 2030, an increase of 60% in cash terms.

The council’s resolutions included a request for the leader to write to the Chair and Chief Executive of Ofwat and to the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, setting out this council’s opposition to the proposed Thames Water price hike and to send a copy of this letter to the MPs for Oxford West & Abingdon, and Wantage constituencies.

Cllr Bethia Thomas, Leader of the Vale, said: “We’re doing everything we can to maintain pressure on Thames Water, which continues to put profit and shareholders before the needs of residents and its customers. The company continues to pursue its plans for a gigantic reservoir that would decimate the countryside of our district, while pumping raw sewage into our rivers, and now has the audacity to hike prices way, way above sky-high inflation right in the middle of a cost-of-living crisis.”

Topics covered by questions included:

Topics covered by questions included:

  • Flooding and Environment Agency review of flood plains/ flood zones
  • The safety of land contaminated by flood water
  • A request to Secretary of State calls the proposed Thames Water Resource Plan for public scrutiny
  • A request for an update on the proposed Water Resource Officer-Member Liaison Group
  • A question on the level of consultation with ward members relating to the draft Water Resources Management Plan 2024
  • LGBT+ History month
  • Power cuts in the district
  • Charging for toilets

View all the questions and answers here.