Tax cut in South Oxfordshire

December 15, 2011 3:30 PM

South Oxfordshire district council are proposing to cut council tax next year by 2.5 per cent. The Henley Standard says that this would reduce the amount paid by a typical Band D taxpayer from £123.73 to £120.64. The council are able to do this because they have outsourced some services, and have also been sharing services with Vale of White Horse District Council since 2008.

Staff are shared between the two authorities, and most services are integrated. This has included shared terms and conditions for staff, and joint department managers between the two councils. Of course, each authority provides different services depending on their local area, but the way they have co-ordinated their operations have allowed South Oxfordshire to pass on the savings to local residents.

This is good news. Individuals have to make savings to their own budgets and councils have to cut back too; why shouldn’t councils look to ease the pressure on their residents? It was disappointing to see Brighton and Hove Council reject central government’s incentive to freeze council tax last week, opting instead to increase it by 3.5 per cent. Their refusal to do so led to Brighton and Hove Council’s Cabinet Member for Finance and Central Services, Cllr Jason Kitcat, being named as the TPA’s November’s Pinhead of the Month. While it’s good to see most local authorities have accepted the freeze, it is even more encouraging to see councils go one step further and reduce council tax for their residents.

Earlier this week, Hammersmith & Fulham council announced they are to cut council tax next year by 3.75 per cent. Due to a variety of cost-cutting measures, including combining services with Westminster and Kensington & Chelsea councils, they have been able to cut management and overhead costs by half. As a result they are able to cut their council tax for the fifth time in six years. It is disappointing that more local authorities do not look to pass on savings to residents through lower council tax bills.. Many could start by ending recruitment to non-jobs, and our research archive contains a whole host of other savings to be made.

Local authorities across the country should take a closer look at tax-cutting councils to see how it can be done, even with necessary spending reductions.South Oxfordshire district council are proposing to cut council tax next year by 2.5 per cent. The Henley Standard says that this would reduce the amount paid by a typical Band D taxpayer from £123.73 to £120.64. The council are able to do this because they have outsourced some services, and have also been sharing services with Vale of White Horse District Council since 2008.

Staff are shared between the two authorities, and most services are integrated. This has included shared terms and conditions for staff, and joint department managers between the two councils. Of course, each authority provides different services depending on their local area, but the way they have co-ordinated their operations have allowed South Oxfordshire to pass on the savings to local residents.

This is good news. Individuals have to make savings to their own budgets and councils have to cut back too; why shouldn’t councils look to ease the pressure on their residents? It was disappointing to see Brighton and Hove Council reject central government’s incentive to freeze council tax last week, opting instead to increase it by 3.5 per cent. Their refusal to do so led to Brighton and Hove Council’s Cabinet Member for Finance and Central Services, Cllr Jason Kitcat, being named as the TPA’s November’s Pinhead of the Month. While it’s good to see most local authorities have accepted the freeze, it is even more encouraging to see councils go one step further and reduce council tax for their residents.

Earlier this week, Hammersmith & Fulham council announced they are to cut council tax next year by 3.75 per cent. Due to a variety of cost-cutting measures, including combining services with Westminster and Kensington & Chelsea councils, they have been able to cut management and overhead costs by half. As a result they are able to cut their council tax for the fifth time in six years. It is disappointing that more local authorities do not look to pass on savings to residents through lower council tax bills.. Many could start by ending recruitment to non-jobs, and our research archive contains a whole host of other savings to be made.

Local authorities across the country should take a closer look at tax-cutting councils to see how it can be done, even with necessary spending reductions.

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