City council budget: Charges will rise to bridge funding gap

Oxford Mail: The council is to improve sports pavilions like the one at Barton where the council’s executive member for parks and sports, Mark Lygo, is pictured with some sports fans Buy this photo » The council is to improve sports pavilions like the one at Barton where the council’s executive member for parks and sports, Mark Lygo, is pictured with some sports fans

COUNCIL house rents and parking charges in Oxford are set to rise next year as the city council strives to maintain services amid a fall in Government grants.

The city council last night revealed its draft 2013-14 budget, which also includes a two per cent rise in council tax.

The authority also wants to raise car park charges at its park-and-ride sites but will press ahead with a £40m investment in its housing stock and other property assets.

An extra £100,000 a year will also be pumped into the council’s apprenticeship scheme to help develop train new staff in-house, while more than £470,000 will be spent on sports pavilions across the city and £500,000 will be spent on roads and verges on estates.

The council has already slashed £12m from its spending since 2008, including almost £1.8m – or 7.3 per cent – this year, and in its draft budget for 2013-14, the authority has announced it will aim to make another £5.4m of savings by 2017.

Spending will only fall from £24,306,000 this financial year to £24,133,000 next year – or by 0.9 per cent – because extra income will be generated to cover the authority’s costs .

A total of £1,774,000 will be saved in council departments, but many of the “savings” are being covered by increases in income and extra revenue as a result of increased charges.

The council is proposing an increase in council house rents of 4.61 per cent, which will mean the average council tenant in a three-bedroom house will pay an extra £4.99 a week, taking the rent up to £105.42 per week.

Fees for kerbside collections of garden waste will go up by five per cent, for both wheelie bins and paper sacks. The yearly subscription of £36.75 for a brown bin would go up to £38.59.

The Government has increased planning fees councils are allowed to charge by 15 per cent, which is expected to generate a further £140,000 in income for the council.

Drivers who use the Pear Tree, Redbridge and Seacourt park-and-ride centres will also see parking fees increased from £1.50 to £2 per day, and charges at other car parks run by the council will rise by two per cent overall.

The council’s deputy leader and executive member for finance Ed Turner said: “We have very difficult funding cuts to contend with and what we have tried to do is protect the most vulnerable people, protect frontline services and avoid redundancies.

“Our staff have made great sacrifices in their pay packets in recent years, and that’s important to recognise.

“Next year we want to take on more apprentices, we want to build homes, we want to invest in communities and in buildings, all of which will be very positive for Oxford’s economy.”

The council also wants to commit to expenditure of £40m on its assets, including more than £19m on its housing stock of 7,819 houses and flats.

Large lump sums include £7.5m for a new swimming pool in Blackbird Leys, £1m for extra burial spaces and the £470,000 sports pavilions improvement scheme.

Comments (8)

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11:23am Thu 13 Dec 12

Gunslinger says...

So a 33% increase for Park and Ride charges?
Is this justified by the costs of running the sites, or just a way of getting people outside the city who work or shop there (but don't have a vote) to subsidise the Council's poor and inefficient services for residents (who do)?
So a 33% increase for Park and Ride charges? Is this justified by the costs of running the sites, or just a way of getting people outside the city who work or shop there (but don't have a vote) to subsidise the Council's poor and inefficient services for residents (who do)? Gunslinger

1:05pm Thu 13 Dec 12

melyn am byth says...

city council warns of cuts to save £1.7m.

Eh?

A total of £1,774,000 will be saved in council departments, but many of the “savings” are being covered by increases in income and extra revenue as a result of increased charges.

Who writes this rubbish?
city council warns of cuts to save £1.7m. Eh? A total of £1,774,000 will be saved in council departments, but many of the “savings” are being covered by increases in income and extra revenue as a result of increased charges. Who writes this rubbish? melyn am byth

1:45pm Thu 13 Dec 12

Bartsimpson_uk says...

How can they justify a 4% rise in rents when most of us have had a pay cut???
How can they justify a 4% rise in rents when most of us have had a pay cut??? Bartsimpson_uk

1:51pm Thu 13 Dec 12

Roooney123 says...

HEADLINE - "City council budget: Charges will rise to bridge funding gap".

How about this headline - "City council cancels the £7.5m for a new swimming pool for Blackbird Leys to avoid spending money they don't have".

Thought provoking or what?
HEADLINE - "City council budget: Charges will rise to bridge funding gap". How about this headline - "City council cancels the £7.5m for a new swimming pool for Blackbird Leys to avoid spending money they don't have". Thought provoking or what? Roooney123

3:46pm Thu 13 Dec 12

Bartsimpson_uk says...

So we end up with no swimming pool in Cowley then Roooney, looks like you have not been thought provoking!!
So we end up with no swimming pool in Cowley then Roooney, looks like you have not been thought provoking!! Bartsimpson_uk

4:25pm Thu 13 Dec 12

EMBOX1 says...

The City Council got a warning from the County the other day when they announced the amount they'd be spending on refurbishing public toilets.

Seriously, someone needs to sit on the City Council and really get them under control. They are a bunch of loonies, sadly voted in by people who know no different, and they look after themselves first and foremost.

When other councils are cutting, or holding steady, their council tax bills, you wonder where the money is going.....
The City Council got a warning from the County the other day when they announced the amount they'd be spending on refurbishing public toilets. Seriously, someone needs to sit on the City Council and really get them under control. They are a bunch of loonies, sadly voted in by people who know no different, and they look after themselves first and foremost. When other councils are cutting, or holding steady, their council tax bills, you wonder where the money is going..... EMBOX1

7:03pm Thu 13 Dec 12

Andrew:Oxford says...

Gunslinger wrote:
So a 33% increase for Park and Ride charges?
Is this justified by the costs of running the sites, or just a way of getting people outside the city who work or shop there (but don't have a vote) to subsidise the Council's poor and inefficient services for residents (who do)?
Not for everyone...

I'm reliably informed that NHS staff will be exempt from the charges at Thornhill & Water Eaton P&R sites.

There being two significant fears.

Firstly that introducing charges may give health care staff the impetus to seek similar employment at alternative hospitals that are either more hospitable to the driver, or offer London weighting.

Secondly, the provision of economical P&R facilities has swung the planning argument in the favour of the local authority when consideration has been made to build a large multi-storey at the JR & Churchill sites.
[quote][p][bold]Gunslinger[/bold] wrote: So a 33% increase for Park and Ride charges? Is this justified by the costs of running the sites, or just a way of getting people outside the city who work or shop there (but don't have a vote) to subsidise the Council's poor and inefficient services for residents (who do)?[/p][/quote]Not for everyone... I'm reliably informed that NHS staff will be exempt from the charges at Thornhill & Water Eaton P&R sites. There being two significant fears. Firstly that introducing charges may give health care staff the impetus to seek similar employment at alternative hospitals that are either more hospitable to the driver, or offer London weighting. Secondly, the provision of economical P&R facilities has swung the planning argument in the favour of the local authority when consideration has been made to build a large multi-storey at the JR & Churchill sites. Andrew:Oxford

7:29pm Thu 13 Dec 12

oafie says...

The council’s deputy leader and executive member for finance Ed Turner said: “We have very difficult funding cuts to contend with and what we have tried to do is protect the most vulnerable people, protect frontline services and avoid redundancies.

And just how much is being spent on the public toilets!!!!!!!!!!!!!
!!! and then they will have to be maintained

Oxford City Council has never put Oxford residents first.
Its students then tourists.

The only way it will change is by having more of the local residents involved, voting and organising their own community candidates
The council’s deputy leader and executive member for finance Ed Turner said: “We have very difficult funding cuts to contend with and what we have tried to do is protect the most vulnerable people, protect frontline services and avoid redundancies. And just how much is being spent on the public toilets!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!! and then they will have to be maintained Oxford City Council has never put Oxford residents first. Its students then tourists. The only way it will change is by having more of the local residents involved, voting and organising their own community candidates oafie

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