THE average Oxfordshire household is likely to pay £1,573 towards the bulk of council services next year, if a tax plan is approved today.

Oxfordshire County Council's cabinet, its most senior councillors, will begin discussing the 2021/22 budget at a meeting this afternoon.

The cabinet is recommended to increase the county council's share of council tax by 2.99 per cent, equivalent to £1,573.11 for the average household in tax band D.

The overall increase a household will face this year will be higher than that, as district councils like Oxford City Council are also likely to demand an increase in their share of tax, and so is Thames Valley Police.

At the moment, the average Oxford household for example pays £2,063.56 in tax over the year with all three levies totalled together.

Oxfordshire County Council did have the option of a large increase in its share.

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It is able to make a 1.99 per cent increase each year, but the Government also gave councils the power to add an extra 3 per cent on the tax if they look after adult social care services.

David Bartholomew, the cabinet member for finance, said the authority was aware people were feeling the pinch due to Covid, and chose not to make the full increase it was allowed.

He said: "We are very mindful of residents’ household budgets as they seek to manage their daily lives in these challenging times. We are proposing to levy just one per cent of the adult social care precept, which leaves us able to plan on the basis of levying the remaining two per cent for the 2022/23 financial year, if needed."

Council leader Ian Hudspeth has previously claimed the 2021 budget is an 'investment budget', because of an extra £25m funding included.

There are also cuts in the budget, but mainly to backroom operations.

If cabinet approves the tax increase, the full council will need to take a vote on it in February before it is enacted.

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