Monday, 20 January 2020

Tax increase to fund ‘investment budget’

FUNDING for children and adult social services in Oxfordshire will increase by £30million under new budget proposals.

The county council is also earmarking another £30million from its capital budget for repairs to roads, bridges, footways and drainage.

Another £3 million per year is proposed to improve road safety and accessibility, including new pedestrian crossings, improved junctions and better bus stop facilities.

The council’s draft “investment budget”, which would mean a rise of 1.99 per cent to its share of council tax, with a further two per cent to help pay for the extra adult social services.

The council believes the budget will help to reduce neglect, ill-health and social isolation while encouraging walking and cycling as part of its commitment to improve air quality and encoirage active lifestyles.

Initiatives include community support for older people so they can live independently for longer and more help for struggling families to reduce the chances of children having to go into care.

The funding for children and adult social services includes an extra £8.1 million from the Government. This money is needed to support an increase in adult social care needs for both older and disabled people as well more child protection cases.

The budget also includes investment in infrastructure, such as an extra £50 million for new and existing schools over 10 years to meet the need for more places.

Council leader Ian Hudspeth said: “Our investment budget will enable us to meet the needs of residents and communities as the county changes. We will redesign services with a greater emphasis on preventing problems before they happen.

“We want to do much more than simply manage the growing demand for council services — we want to help all our communities in Oxfordshire to thrive. That means addressing the real causes of that demand for our services so children have the best start in life and older and disabled people can live as independently as possible.”

The council has also budgeted for the replacement of more than 50,000 streetlights with energy-efficient LEDs as it tries to meet its carbon neutral target by 2030.

Councillors will vote on the proposals on February 11.

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