Oxford City Council votes for tax and rent rises in 2014-15 budget

Ed Turner

Ed Turner

First published in News thisisoxfordshire: Photograph of the Author by , Council Reporter, also covering Oxford city centre. Call me on 01865 425429

OXFORD City Council approved its budget for 2014-15 at a special meeting held at the Town Hall last night.

The budget was passed after more than three hours of debate and three alternative financial plans were defeated when put to the vote.

The decision means that the authority’s share of council tax bills will go up by 1.99 per cent, while savings of more than £5.4m will be made and rents for council houses in the city will go up by more than five per cent on average.

Ed Turner, the council’s executive board member for finance, said: “This budget and medium-term financial plan once again goes under the headline ‘A fair future for Oxford’.

“That fair future is in jeopardy, because of the actions of a Government which is in the process of whipping away 47 per cent of our Government grant, at a time of increasing pressure on our services.

“A Government whose welfare reforms have, quite rightly, been dubbed a disgrace by the leader of the Catholic Church in England and Wales.

“A Government seeing a huge rise in the numbers quietly turning to food banks to feed their hungry children.”

He said that the Labour-run council was using its “socialist values” to help the worst-off in society in a time of austerity.

The budget proposed by the Labour group, which will also see £2m set aside for new affordable homes and £1.5m spent on flood alleviation works in Marston and Northway, gained a good deal of support from the other parties on the council, the Liberal Democrats and the Greens, but both said that it could be improved. Both parties put forward individual budget plans, along with a joint proposal.

Green group leader Craig Simmons, proposing the joint Lib Dem-Green budget, said: “We need to unite against Oxfordshire County Council and the coalition Government.

“There is nothing to say we cannot make a good budget better. We don’t have a monopoly on good ideas.”

This alternative budget proposed free parking for an hour at Oxford’s car parks, additional grants for debt advice and money to purchase the Gladiator Club, in Iffley Road, but it was defeated by the Labour group, which has a majority of 12 seats.

Jean Fooks, the leader of the Lib Dems, said it was “shameful” that the council was not contributing towards the East West Rail project, which will link Oxford and Bicester with Milton Keynes and Bedford, and said that their alternative budget included money towards it.

thisisoxfordshire: Jean Fooks

Colin Cook, the executive board member for city development, told the meeting: “You can tell how good this budget is by the brevity of the amendments. This is a world-class budget for a world-class city.”

Some of the councillors criticised the Conservative-run county council, which on Tuesday had passed a budget which included cuts of £1.5m to homelessness services.

Green councillor David Williams said: “We believe here that people should have a democratic voice in the system.

“But there are people there who don’t share those beliefs.”

Comments (6)

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11:44am Thu 20 Feb 14

Going_Digital says...

Both Oxford City and County Councils are poor value for money. Does it come as any surprise that they have chosen to implement the maximum increase allowable before requiring a referendum ?

Councils forget that they are employed by the people to for the benefit of the people in that community. I firmly believe that Councils should stop wasting our money and reduce their responsibilities not keep adding to them.
Both Oxford City and County Councils are poor value for money. Does it come as any surprise that they have chosen to implement the maximum increase allowable before requiring a referendum ? Councils forget that they are employed by the people to for the benefit of the people in that community. I firmly believe that Councils should stop wasting our money and reduce their responsibilities not keep adding to them. Going_Digital
  • Score: 1

11:56am Thu 20 Feb 14

Andrew:Oxford says...

How much money would be saved if Oxfordshire County Council were a unitary authority?

All based in one large office on the outskirts of Banbury, Wantage or Didcot...
How much money would be saved if Oxfordshire County Council were a unitary authority? All based in one large office on the outskirts of Banbury, Wantage or Didcot... Andrew:Oxford
  • Score: 1

3:26pm Thu 20 Feb 14

mytaxes says...

Many councils will be freezing council tax again this year, yet we are having another increase. Amazing to read that a Labour councillor congratulated the county council for raising council tax, what planet does she live on? Both councils should be doing more to save money not just cutting services and raising tax. Get rid of the city council and let's have one council.
Many councils will be freezing council tax again this year, yet we are having another increase. Amazing to read that a Labour councillor congratulated the county council for raising council tax, what planet does she live on? Both councils should be doing more to save money not just cutting services and raising tax. Get rid of the city council and let's have one council. mytaxes
  • Score: 0

6:30pm Thu 20 Feb 14

Jameslouis says...

The Oxford city council in my opinion is one of the most corrupt and wasteful councils in the country, they are typical of labour run councils! greedy , corrupt and useless "Ted. Turner is in my opinion a greedy selfish ignorant person, we cannot all over pay ourselves with tax payers monies and so not care if the rates go up. In my opinion it beggars belief why the council are putting up council tax while they have been making hundreds of millions of pounds every year in parking charges which they keep in a secret account which they make millions in interest. Corrupt or what.
The Oxford city council in my opinion is one of the most corrupt and wasteful councils in the country, they are typical of labour run councils! greedy , corrupt and useless "Ted. Turner is in my opinion a greedy selfish ignorant person, we cannot all over pay ourselves with tax payers monies and so not care if the rates go up. In my opinion it beggars belief why the council are putting up council tax while they have been making hundreds of millions of pounds every year in parking charges which they keep in a secret account which they make millions in interest. Corrupt or what. Jameslouis
  • Score: 0

7:08pm Thu 20 Feb 14

Andrew:Oxford says...

Jameslouis wrote:
The Oxford city council in my opinion is one of the most corrupt and wasteful councils in the country, they are typical of labour run councils! greedy , corrupt and useless "Ted. Turner is in my opinion a greedy selfish ignorant person, we cannot all over pay ourselves with tax payers monies and so not care if the rates go up. In my opinion it beggars belief why the council are putting up council tax while they have been making hundreds of millions of pounds every year in parking charges which they keep in a secret account which they make millions in interest. Corrupt or what.
That was going so well until your last line.

If the account is so secret, how do you know it exists?

If they make "millions" in interest when base rate is 0.5% it would mean that the balance of the account is in the region of £400M.

It sounds a touch unlikely.
[quote][p][bold]Jameslouis[/bold] wrote: The Oxford city council in my opinion is one of the most corrupt and wasteful councils in the country, they are typical of labour run councils! greedy , corrupt and useless "Ted. Turner is in my opinion a greedy selfish ignorant person, we cannot all over pay ourselves with tax payers monies and so not care if the rates go up. In my opinion it beggars belief why the council are putting up council tax while they have been making hundreds of millions of pounds every year in parking charges which they keep in a secret account which they make millions in interest. Corrupt or what.[/p][/quote]That was going so well until your last line. If the account is so secret, how do you know it exists? If they make "millions" in interest when base rate is 0.5% it would mean that the balance of the account is in the region of £400M. It sounds a touch unlikely. Andrew:Oxford
  • Score: 0

9:22pm Thu 20 Feb 14

Jameslouis says...

Andrew:Oxford wrote:
Jameslouis wrote:
The Oxford city council in my opinion is one of the most corrupt and wasteful councils in the country, they are typical of labour run councils! greedy , corrupt and useless "Ted. Turner is in my opinion a greedy selfish ignorant person, we cannot all over pay ourselves with tax payers monies and so not care if the rates go up. In my opinion it beggars belief why the council are putting up council tax while they have been making hundreds of millions of pounds every year in parking charges which they keep in a secret account which they make millions in interest. Corrupt or what.
That was going so well until your last line.

If the account is so secret, how do you know it exists?

If they make "millions" in interest when base rate is 0.5% it would mean that the balance of the account is in the region of £400M.

It sounds a touch unlikely.
There is a list on the internet available to the general public that shows what every council in the Uk makes in parking charges and it amounts to millions.
[quote][p][bold]Andrew:Oxford[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Jameslouis[/bold] wrote: The Oxford city council in my opinion is one of the most corrupt and wasteful councils in the country, they are typical of labour run councils! greedy , corrupt and useless "Ted. Turner is in my opinion a greedy selfish ignorant person, we cannot all over pay ourselves with tax payers monies and so not care if the rates go up. In my opinion it beggars belief why the council are putting up council tax while they have been making hundreds of millions of pounds every year in parking charges which they keep in a secret account which they make millions in interest. Corrupt or what.[/p][/quote]That was going so well until your last line. If the account is so secret, how do you know it exists? If they make "millions" in interest when base rate is 0.5% it would mean that the balance of the account is in the region of £400M. It sounds a touch unlikely.[/p][/quote]There is a list on the internet available to the general public that shows what every council in the Uk makes in parking charges and it amounts to millions. Jameslouis
  • Score: 0

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