Leader’s call to ‘value’ council as district’s council tax is frozen for another year

CDC is freezing council tax for another year
CDC is freezing council tax for another year
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Cherwell leader Barry Wood has called on district residents to ‘value’ its council during a budget setting meeting of the council’s executive on Monday.

The district’s portion of council tax is to be frozen for the eighth year running while council documents showed a ‘balanced budget’ for the 2017/18 tax year.

The documents also show an estimated reduction in the revenue support grant to the council, that is money from central government, of around 13 per cent.

Changes have been made to the new homes bonus (NHB), a scheme set up to boost house building, which includes the introduction of a ‘deadweight’ factor where local authorities whose housing growth is less than 0.4 per cent will not receive NHB cash.

CDC is also receiving additional income from the Graven Hill development, in Bicester, which is expected to provide CDC with £1.91 million.

Speaking at the meeting, councillor Wood praised the joint working between Cherwell District Council and South Northants Council, which he said had allowed the district to continue to invest.

He said: “I say it is a simple enough premise but not every council in the country does that and I think every council could learn from that if they look closely enough at it.”

He added: “If the public, if the people, the residents, the council tax payers of Cherwell district, if they value a council that does not increase council tax and has not increased council tax for the eighth consecutive year then they need to value CDC.

“If they value the provision of high quality services without any cuts in them without any reductions in them, but increases in them, and I detail grass cutting in urban areas, if people in this district value those services from a district council then they need to value, in their mind’s eye, Cherwell District Council.

“If people living in this district and paying their council tax in this district value an authority that’s fleet of foot and flexible, seeks to do all the efficiencies in their budget documents, builds on those and puts the money that it acquires from those savings back into investment in this district then they need to value Cherwell District Council.

“Local people need to remember Castle Quay and the soon coming Castle Quay 2 shopping centre in Banbury, they are policies of this authority.

“People need to remember and think carefully about the things and services they value and who it is who provides them for them.”

Next Tuesday, Oxfordshire County Council is to discuss its budget proposals for 2017/18.

It has proposed a council tax increase of 4.99 per cent and is looking to make £38 million in savings.

County council proposals include increasing the budget for grass cutting in the county by £170,000 and spending £153 million on providing new school places.

It expects savings of £15million to be made over the next two years through its Fit for the Future programme, changes to the council’s operating model. The programme includes a digital first policy and a review of core functions such as ICT, finance, procurement and commissioning. A reduction in staffing is expected and also includes the creation of community hubs, based on libraries. It also plans to make savings through its review of adult day services and changes to personal budgets awarded to carers with eligible needs, following assessment, with the possible creation of a contingency fund of £100,000.