Oxfordshire County Council has finalised its budget for 2024/25.

The annual budget was set during a meeting of all county councillors on February 20.

The Liberal Democrat Green Alliance group, which currently forms the council's administration, initially released a draft budget in late November.

It underwent several changes as the amounts of Government and other funding became clearer, and a balanced budget was proposed by the council's cabinet in early February.

This later included additional money awarded to councils in England from central Government.

Apart from the Liberal Democrat Green Alliance group, the Conservative and Labour groups also proposed their own amendments to the budget.

All proposals were debated in the council chamber.

The final budget was agreed upon after the Liberal Democrats accepted the Labour group's amendments.

Oxford Mail: Dan LevyDan Levy (Image: West Oxfordshire District Council)

Councillor Dan Levy, Oxfordshire County Council’s cabinet member for finance, said: "We have worked hard to balance our budget and find savings so we could provide the investment needed to meet demands and pressures in social care.

“Although central government came up with extra cash for local councils in England, this was very late and not enough to resolve the financial challenges facing the sector as a whole.

"The budget for both adults and children’s social care will rise in real terms in 2024/25."

There were notable changes from the budget proposed by the cabinet in January.

These include a 10 per cent real terms increase for children’s services to support improvements in special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) and children's residential support.

An additional provision was made for highways maintenance.

The budget also reflects the cabinet's enduring commitment to reducing air pollution and supporting bus use and active travel.

The Labour amendment that was approved included an increase in early intervention work in early years and primary school settings to proactively respond to SEND needs.

An investment totalling £375,000 in 2024/25, rising to £500,000 in 2025/26, is to be made in the Family Help Team to mitigate future care costs and demand.

Four new Controlled Parking Zones will be introduced with a £200,000 investment in the 2024/25 financial year and there will be improved fee and penalty collection.

The budget also restores cost of living funding to support local advice centres and provides £300,000 revenue funding for borrowing to support additional funding for scheduled highways maintenance.

Mr Levy added: "Other areas of focus for our extra spending include extra spending for children with special educational needs and disabilities to support improvements in this area.

"There are also investments in highway maintenance, especially gully cleaning."

The net budget for 2024/25 is to be £611 million, with a council tax increase of 4.99 per cent.

Voting on the budget saw 37 councillors in favour, with 18 abstaining.

Some councillors were unable to attend the meeting.