A COUNCILLOR has quit parish-level politics after criticising a 'disgusting' tax rise in a disadvantaged Oxford community.

David Henwood has resigned from Littlemore Parish Council after 13 years in the role, citing an increase in the parish precept as the catalyst for his decision.

The Littlemore resident will remain an indepedent city councillor for Cowley, having resigned the Labour whip in November.

READ AGAIN: Cowley councillor David Henwood quits Oxford Labour

Minutes of the council's finance committee in December state that the budget, subject to agreement from full council, would be £96,579 - up on the previous year's budget of £87,901.

According to Mr Henwood's calculations, the hike will result in Band D households paying an extra £4.05 this year compared to the last - a rise of 8.1 per cent.

The Oxford Mail contacted the parish council to confirm if this was correct, and for the explanation behind the increase, but has not yet received a response.

Mr Henwood said his critique of the budget had led to disagreement within the council and added: "Rather than carry on and divide the parish council into two camps, I handed in my resignation.

"It's time to move on. It's gut-wrenching and very upsetting to have to leave in that way."

He cited the recent budget as one of 'the worst decisions the parish council has ever made'.

He added: "I am disgusted that the council voted in favour of a budget [of almost] £100,000.

"They are trying to milk one of the poorest communities in Oxford.

"With city council taxes going up, the burden on one of our poorest communities to support one of Britain’s most expensive parish council’s is incredulous.

"The parish council will push more and more people into the queue of food banks."

ALSO READ: Littlemore councillors clash over budget amidst fears of another tax increase

Mr Henwood said he felt the rise was unjustified and the result of a budget 'centered around administrative costs'.

He said the fact parish councils are allowed to put up precepts without a referendum or consultation, as higher level councils have to if their proposed increase exceeds a certain percentage, is 'undemocratic'.

He added: "Littlemore residents don't have the power to object to that decision."

Details of the 2018/19 budget, published on the parish council's website, state that £21,000 was set aside to pay for groundsmen, who carry out work such as park maintenance.

According to the same document, the parish council's budget jumped from £51,832 in 2016/17 to £86,170 in 2017/18.

In November, parish clerk Richard Wilkins said wage rises are planned for staff to bring them in line with the Oxford Living Wage.

Figures published on Oxford City Council's website for the 2018/19 financial year showed that Band D council taxes in the city - including parish precepts but excluding police and county council precepts - were:

Littlemore: £336.08

Old Marston: £329.75

Risinghurst and Sandhills: £318.77

Blackbird Leys: £297.30

Unparished Area: £301.32

It said these figures include 'parish precepts and special expensing amounts as appropriate, in addition to the city-wide council tax of £285.92.'

A city council report on deprivation in Oxford, published in 2015, ranked areas of the city from a scale of 1-10 - with 1 being the most deprived and 10 being the least deprived.

This accounted for income, employment, education, health, crime, housing, and environment, and Littlemore ranked at number 3 overall.

Rose Hill and Iffley and Northfield Brook were ranked as the most deprived areas.