Henley Council Tax to rise despite South Oxfordshire Council Tax to fall again

For the second year running residents of South Oxfordshire can look forward to a late Christmas present as South Oxfordshire District Council cuts its share of council tax by 2.5 per cent.

This will be the recommendation when the council meets to agree its budget for 2013/14 in February.

The council currently sets the 15th lowest council tax of any district council in England and this move will consolidate its position as a low spending, high quality service provider. A Band D taxpayer will see the element of their bill that relates to the district council reduce from £120.64 to £117.62.

The council’s cabinet has yet to finalise its detailed spending plans for 2013/14 but has decided to make a reduction in council tax one of the centrepieces of its proposals.

Cllr David Dodds, Cabinet member for finance, said: “We have managed our finances well for many years. It is right and proper in these difficult times that we share the benefit of that prudent management with our residents. In monetary terms the reduction is small but it shows our intent. We reduced council tax this year, we are reducing it again next year and I hope we can continue to do so for the following two years as well.

“What particularly pleases me is that we can lower council tax while at the same time improving services. As part of the budget I will be introducing schemes to enhance street cleaning, help first time buyers secure mortgages and refurbish public toilets among other things.”

South Oxfordshire District Council works very closely with the neighbouring Vale of White Horse District Council, sharing many staff and contracts. This has generated substantial annual savings that has allowed both councils to maintain low council taxes and avoid significant service reductions. South Oxfordshire’s healthy reserves also allow it to offer generous grants to voluntary bodies and parish councils well over £1 million a year, and invest in major redevelopment schemes like the Orchard Centre in Didcot.

However, Oxfordshire County Council is planning to raise it’s share by 1.99% and Henley Town Council are to discuss their increase at the council meeting on Tuesday 15th January.