Distribution S-14(2) NOTICE - T8750 (EM) Aston, Cote, Shifford & Chimney, 2 The Square, Aston - Road Closure
West Oxfordshire District Council will maintain services in the coming financial year despite the ongoing effects of Covid-19.
That was the clear message delivered to the Council’s Cabinet as the proposed Budget for 2021-22 was discussed.
Efficiency savings made in previous years will ensure that all services and benefits such as free parking and levels of community grants are maintained.
The Cabinet recommended that council tax should rise by just £5 a year which is within Government guidelines.
It means the council’s charge for the average Band D property in the District will be £109.38 or £2.10 a week.
Cllr Toby Morris, Cabinet Member for Resources, said: “It has been an extraordinary year and we can’t deny Covid-19 has had an impact on Council finances with reduced income and funding.
“But we have listened to residents and are determined to maintain and even enhance services. Efficiency savings amounting to hundreds of thousands of pounds have been made over recent years including £300,000 this year alone which have helped ensure this happens.
“So we will continue to deliver on services and on our Covid-19 recovery plan to the benefit of everyone in the District.”
The proposed Budget follows a consultation run in January which generated more than 200 responses from residents and businesses.
Around 60 per cent agreed with the proposed £5 increase in council tax while respondents said they felt strongly that the Council should not introduce fees for parking.
When asked to rank the Council priorities in order of importance, the economy scored highest with healthy towns and villages and climate action coming a close second and third.
The Council has also pledged to search for investment opportunities that will help maintain its Budget levels in future years.
The Council’s Cabinet voted to recommend the Budget to full Council which meets next Wednesday.
A special competition for young people designed to highlight issues around hate crime has been launched.
Organised by the West Oxfordshire Community Safety Partnership (WOCSP), the aim is to create a piece of work to inspire and educate with participants learning about the issues facing people who suffer hate crime and discrimination.
This could be a video, song, poem, play, short story, live performance, artwork, photography or even a meme.
Participants need to be aged between 11 and 16 with themes focusing on discrimination, experiencing and reporting hate crime and accessing support.
Cllr Merilyn Davies, Cabinet Member for Communities and Housing at WOCSP member organisation West Oxfordshire District Council, said: “Hate crime should never be tolerated at any level and it is important that our young people understand it and know what to do if they are a victim or witness it.
“This competition is an excellent way of channelling young people’s natural creativity and helping educate them about hate crime, why it is wrong and how to report it. I’m really looking forward to seeing the results.”
The West Oxfordshire Community Safety Partnership (WOCSP) brings together local organisations including Thames Valley Police, Oxfordshire County Council, voluntary and community sector groups and housing organisations.
Partners share a goal of creating safer communities in which to live, work and visit. They aim to achieve this by pooling skills, knowledge and techniques to prevent and reduce crime, disorder and fear of crime.
Superintendent Emma Garside, Commander for Cherwell and West Oxfordshire local policing area, said: “Hate crimes can have serious, long term physical, emotional and financial effects on the lives of those who experience them.
“They can happen anywhere, even online and can take many forms, including threats, intimidation, damage to property and physical attacks.
“No one should ever be the victim of hate crime. This competition is a great way to engage young people with this sensitive and complex issue.”
The competition will run until 21 February. The first prize will be a £100 voucher for an organisation of the entrant’s choice. Second and third prizes of £50 and £25 vouchers will also be awarded.
Anyone wanting more information and to enter the competition should see:
News and information from Aston, Cote, Chimney & Shifford Parish Council.