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Thursday, February 2, 2023

Members of the public will be consulted on Cherwell council budget

A council has launched a budget consultation on measured savings to protect district services.

Cherwell District Council’s residents are now being asked to have their say on proposals for the council’s 2023/24 budget, which funds services such as waste collection, planning, and housing in north Oxfordshire.

The budget consultation will run until December 23.

Read more: Live updates: Lane blocked after crash

The council is proposing a total of £0.5 million in savings while also committing to some key investments to support the district.

Many of the long-term financial issues the council currently faces are set to continue in the coming years.

They include uncertainty around the government’s plans on resetting business rates and the winding down of the New Homes Bonus.

The council is also facing significant inflationary pressures related to the rising cost of living and a loss of income from car parks.

Against this backdrop the budget proposals are focussed on measured back-office savings while seeking to minimise the impact on frontline services.

Councillor Barry Wood, Leader of the Council, said: “Despite the financial pressures local councils are facing, we are standing by our vision of high-quality public services for a district which is a great place to live, work and prosper.

“I am pleased that alongside some difficult decisions, we have also been able to identify some areas of investment, such as a regeneration project for Bicester town centre.

“We are also standing by our commitment to help residents navigate the cost-of-living crisis and continuing our work to cut our carbon emissions.”

Councillor Adam Nell, Portfolio Holder for Finance, said: “This is a prudent and well-thought out set of budget proposals.

“The key is to keep local services on a sustainable footing.

“By making back-office savings in some areas and increasing our income in others we will be able to minimise the impact on our frontline offering to residents.”

Some of the key savings proposed for 2023/24 include adopting a new approach to allocating grants the council receives, increasing charges for licensing activities and bringing rent collection for council properties in-house.

The council also plans to invest £4.25 million into the transformation of the market square in Bicester.

As well as investing £0.5 million in green energy to reduce its carbon emissions.

The council sets its budget for 2023/24 on February 27, 2023.

People can find further detail of the budget proposals and have their say before December 23 by visiting letstalk.cherwell.gov.uk/budget-consultation-2023-24

In 2021/22, a combination of national and local factors came together to present significant financial challenges for the council, which resulted in it needing to make savings of £4.4 million.

In 2022/23, the challenge remained, meaning new savings of £2.6 million were proposed.

 

This story was written by Matthew Norman, he joined the team in 2022 as a Facebook community reporter.

Matthew covers Bicester and focuses on finding stories from diverse communities.

Get in touch with him by emailing: [email protected]

Follow him on Twitter: @OxMailMattN1

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