Government finance settlement
Poor government grant places pressure on council and residents
West Oxfordshire District Council leaders have expressed dismay over a very poor finance settlement from central government, which will result in pressure on local government services and costs falling on to Council Tax payers.
Cllr Simon Hoare, Cabinet Member for Finance explains: “A one per cent grant increase for next year is well below the current inflation rate of 4.2%. In cash terms it amounts to £59,000 and will result in West Oxfordshire taxpayers being short-changed by around £180,000 in central government support. This news comes on top of other budget pressures as central government continues to shift more responsibilities across to local government.“
Cllr Barry Norton Leader of the Council said: “This is a bad settlement for West Oxfordshire and for Oxfordshire as a whole. The government statement talks about real increases in grant above inflation yet has delivered a savage funding cut for Oxfordshire councils.
“The settlement announcement comes at a time the government wants Councils to deliver more services for the same money – in our case we are told to deliver more with less money!
“The situation gets worse in 2009 with grant increases set for a mere half of one percent in West Oxfordshire. This will be £30,000 increase, which is insufficient as inflation alone adds nearly £500,000 to the Council's budgets.
“This settlement has not taken account of the impact of our growing population. Demands for services such as waste, recycling and benefits are rising each year, but funding does not follow.”
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