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Councils “just about commanded” to place up tax by most, says finance councillor

Council tax invoice and, inset, Cllr Dan Levy <i>(Picture: NQ workers)</i>

Oxfordshire’s councils have little selection however to extend council tax by the utmost permitted in accordance with the councillor who holds the purse strings in a single district.

Eynsham & Cassington councillor Dan Levy, West Oxfordshire District Council’s cupboard member for finance who additionally sits on Oxfordshire County Council, mentioned his district had been “just about commanded by central authorities”.

That assertion was challenged by a member of the Conservative opposition however Cllr Levy insisted the implication had been made by “very sturdy hints”.

West Oxfordshire District Council collects council tax on behalf of all the our bodies that obtain it, together with Oxfordshire County Council and the fireplace and police authorities.

Every physique decides how a lot its a part of council tax shall be elevated by as much as a most quantity permitted by nationwide authorities.

READ ALSO: West Oxfordshire District Council garden waste collection price increase

The district receives a small portion of what households pay and might solely put up its half by a most of £5 for the monetary yr beginning in April 2023, which it plans to do. It can elevate an additional £235,000.

Oxfordshire County Council plans to place its half up by 4.99 per cent – 2.99 per cent plus two per cent that have to be allotted to grownup social care – which is roughly £82 per yr for what is taken into account to be a mean (band D) property.

Discussing his district’s finances proposals at a gathering for all councillors this week, Cllr Levy mentioned: “We’ve got just about been given an order by central authorities that we have to elevate council tax by the utmost quantity allowed.

“The county council will little doubt improve by the utmost quantity it’s allowed to… and has additionally been advised that it just about has to cost a further two per cent to pay for grownup social care on high of that.

“If we don’t all cost that, to begin with we is not going to get grants from central authorities which we require to offer the companies that we’ve got to offer.

“Secondly, we might harm future generations. For those who can solely improve your council tax by a specified quantity and don’t when you possibly can then these future generations won’t be able to boost further cash.”

Conservative Alvescot and Filkins councillor Suzi Coul forged doubt over that.

“I used to be in a gathering with the minister for native authorities final Thursday who categorically mentioned that this was not true,” she mentioned.

“I want to know the place this path got here from, whether or not it was ministerial or whether or not it was civil service.”

Cllr Levy replied: “The federal government would by no means do something fairly so crass as to instruct us however it will possibly actually drop very sturdy hints that if we don’t do our bit by elevating council tax and different costs, they don’t seem to be going to do their bit by supporting the issues we do.

“That has been made in particular clear with a number of the county council stuff with grownup social care, the place there may be not an obligation however a robust emphasis on that further two per cent.

READ ALSO: Witney shopping centre parking to remain free after council’s £9million takeover

“Throughout the board, the sturdy impression has been provided that we’re anticipated to do our bit.

“Let’s be sincere, the events which can be at the moment in cost [at West Oxfordshire] are fairly eager on delivering higher companies and doing good issues for the residents. To try this, we’ve got to cost.

“We don’t want instruction to assume these are the vital issues however we’ve got just about been instructed to do them.”

The district’s finances for 2023-24 is at the moment a draft and shall be finalised at a gathering for all West Oxfordshire councillors on February 15.



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