William Eichler 30 June 2022

Council warns of 20% cuts to cope with financial crisis

Council warns of 20% cuts to cope with financial crisis  image
Image: N.M.Bear / Shutterstock.com.

Oxford City Council has said that they are facing ‘tough choices’ over the coming months due to the pandemic and the cost-of-living crisis, and warn they will have to cut 20% from their annual budget.

The city council said that the difficult financial picture means that some council services may need to be reduced, although it assured residents that priority will be given to protecting services that support the most vulnerable.

The local authority needs to have delivered increasing levels of savings and additional income generation totalling £5.5m annually from the financial year 2026/27. That is equivalent to around 20% of its £27m annual budget.

Over the last decade, Oxford City Council has seen a £7m reduction in funding as part of the Government’s austerity programme. The city council now receives no direct grant funding from Government for its core activities.

It urged the Government to honour its commitment to ‘do whatever it takes’ to protect local government services.

Cllr Ed Turner, deputy leader of Oxford City Council, ‘The Government has pledged no help for local authorities with rising energy costs or the effects of inflation, and – despite the lasting impact of Covid-19 on our finances – the Government has ended its additional funding.

‘Through prudent financial management, we have managed to maintain vital services in Oxford during a decade of savage cuts to local government, and have continued support to the most vulnerable.

‘We have spent years generating income to offset Government cuts, and making backroom cuts and efficiency savings. Now, after a decade of austerity, there is no low hanging fruit left.

‘We are looking at ways to save money and generate income to mitigate the impact and avoid needing to reduce services, but if we do not receive additional funding from the Government, there will be some tough choices to be made.’

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