Budget consultation 2021-22

Have your say

On 9 February 2021, Oxfordshire County Council will meet to agree its budget. In this consultation we are asking residents, businesses and stakeholders for their views on our budget proposals for 2021/22 and our proposed council tax increase.

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Introduction

Frontline services are being given high levels of protection and new investment as part of Oxfordshire County Council’s budget proposals for 2021/22.

Next year and beyond, we are committing to strengthening our approach towards climate action, an enhanced focus on addressing inequality, developing our youth offer and delivering our COVID-19 recovery strategy. 

Alongside all local authorities, we face an uncertain funding situation. There is a combination of factors coming together this year for the council that mean we need to make additional savings on top of those already agreed for our 2021/22 budget. These factors include loss of income and other impacts on services due to COVID-19 and the uncertainty of government funding as a whole – for our pandemic response and recovery, the future distribution of business rates and the potential introduction of new funding formulas. Added to this, our population is growing and ageing at one of the fastest rates in our history, which puts more pressure on our budgets and services.

On 25 November, the government announced it would once again give councils the flexibility to raise council tax by an additional three per cent over the next two years to help pay for adult social care services. This is called the adult social care precept and is on top of a maximum 1.99 per cent ‘core’ council tax that can be charged. At the same time, the government also confirmed that there would be additional funding for COVID-19 into the first quarter of 2021/22 and the social care grant would continue.

This is welcome news and has the potential to allow us to make small investments into key priority areas, such as our youth offer. However, given the level of remaining uncertainties, including around COVID-19, we will continue to take a cautious and measured approach towards managing our budgets. We must ensure future funding is in place if we need it. Responsible and careful financial forward planning over the last decade has meant that the council is in a more sustainable and resilient position to meet our budget pressures.

This means we still need to make £19.6 million of savings in total across all services. £14.6m of these savings were already planned and are centred on the transformation of services to make them more efficient while protecting the frontline. We said we had found ways to operate better and more efficiently so we will make sure we do.

The council is also dedicated to investing in services that will have positive long-term impact for local communities. The budget proposals reflect this with more than £25m of additional funding included. Some of this funding has been previously agreed but £9.5m of this is newly proposed for 2021/22 to help meet additional demands, including within adult social care.

Protecting those in need will always be our priority. Budget pressures mean we will have to continue to find ways to save money while protecting frontline services – moving services online, where appropriate, and generating more income.

We are proposing both savings and investments in priority areas and consulting the public on what we know now. As we move through the winter, the situation may change as our knowledge of financial support available from central government increases.

In the meantime, we want to hear people’s views on our proposals – which include a council tax rise of 1.99 per cent with the option of an additional increase, up to three per cent, for adult social care. This will help inform our decisions during the budget process. 

The public consultation on the budget closes on 13th January 2021 and feedback will be considered when councillors set the budget on 9th February 2021.

Please take the time to read the consultation booklet which provides helpful information (it can be downloaded here or see below under 'documents') and have your say. Our news package provides additional useful information. You may also wish to review the council's full budget proposals and supporting information that will be considered by the Performance Scrutiny Committee on 18th December, to help inform your consultation response.

Timeline

  • Opened
    16 Dec 2020 at 11:00
  • Closed
    13 Jan 2021 at 23:59
  • Response Published
    09 Feb 2021

Consultation Documents

  • Full Budget Proposals 2021-22 to 2025-26
    The report provides an overview of the latest financial planning assumptions for 2021/22, including the key points arising from the Spending Review announced on 25 November 2020. The paper sets out the approach to Budget Consultation, which seeks views from the public on proposed savings, pressures and investments.

Details

Contact Name Director of Finance
Contact Email Address budget@oxfordshire.gov.uk
Contact Phone Number 01865 792422

Consultation Topic
  • Council budget & finances
  • Economy & business
  • Environment & waste
  • Equalities
  • Fire & public safety
  • Health
  • Leisure & culture
  • Planning
  • Roads & transport
  • Social care
Target Audience
  • Oxfordshire residents
Geographical Area
  • Banbury
  • Bicester
  • Kidlington and Yarnton
  • Oxford City
  • Benson, Berinsfield and Wallingford
  • Chalgrove, Thame Watlington and Wheatley
  • Goring and Henley
  • Didcot
  • Abingdon
  • Faringdon
  • Grove and Wantage
  • Burford and Carterton
  • Charlbury, Chipping Norton and Woodstock
  • Witney