Residents and businesses in Cherwell District are invited to have their say on spending plans for 2022/23 at Cherwell District Council.
The council said in a statement that careful financial planning is at the centre of its 2022/23 budget proposals that include sustainable and resilient measures to respond to uncertainties in government funding.
In 2021/22, a combination of national and local factors came together to present significant financial challenges for the council, which resulted in needing to make savings of £4.4 million. This year, the challenge remains, meaning new savings of £2.6 million are proposed for 2022/23.
Longer-term issues include uncertainty around the government’s plans on resetting business rates and the New Homes Bonus Scheme, which is currently winding down, both of which could present further challenges.
COVID-19 is also continuing to have an impact across services, for example, on income-generating streams such as car parking.
Added to this, the population continues to grow and age at one of the fastest rates in the council’s history, which puts more pressure on its budgets and services.
The council sets its budget for 2022/23 on 28 February. People can have their say on the budget proposals between 02 December and 04 January by visiting letstalk.cherwell.gov.uk/budgetconsultation
“We remain an ambitious authority despite COVID-19 and the budget pressures we are facing. We have invested in the long-term sustainability of the district through our redevelopment of Castle Quay in Banbury, which has continued throughout the pandemic, and our investment in Graven Hill in Bicester.
“Protecting those in need will always be our priority. But with continued budget pressures, we will need to continue to find new ways to deliver services differently and more efficiently – saving money overall, including the running costs of the council – and generating more income, all while protecting as many frontline services as we can.
“To deliver a balanced budget for 2022/23, we are planning ahead carefully and responsibly. Having careful and measured forward planning means we can be a resilient and sustainable council in the future.”
—Councillor Barry Wood, Leader of Cherwell District Council
“Despite the chancellor’s announcement of additional funding for local government in the autumn budget, there is a lot of uncertainty surrounding many elements of it and how it will be allocated.
“As we move through the winter, the situation may change as our knowledge of financial support available from central government increases.
“For 2022/23, we are proposing to increase council tax by £5 per year for the average Band D property. This works out at less than 10p per week and is the maximum amount the government will currently allow.
“In the meantime, we want to hear your views on our proposals for 2022/23 to inform our decisions during the budget process. Your thoughts are important to us. We look forward to receiving your feedback.”
—Councillor Tony Ilott, Cherwell District Council’s Lead Member for Finance and Governance