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County Councillor report: February 21 Feb 2024 (OCC Updates) Prioritising adult social care and children’s services, flood defences and roads in the budget for 2024-25 : Dan Levy explains

Tuesday 20 February was the Full Council meeting of the County Council, which set a budget for the next financial year. The administration at County Hall, of which I am the Cabinet member with responsibility for finance, does not have an overall majority, after the departure of Labour from the Oxfordshire Fair Deal Alliance.

County Councillor Dan LevyWe agreed above inflation increases in spending on Adult Social Care and Children’s services, and additional money going into flood defences and roads. We are offsetting this with a set of savings in areas such as reducing the layers of management and putting effort into ensuring that our children can be looked after in Oxfordshire rather than elsewhere. The County Council remains financially robust, but there are limits to what can be done within the funding available.

It has been a complex path to get to this point, involving really useful consultation exercises, and grappling with the government producing its “final” settlement, in two parts, so that we only discovered our final expected income earlier this month.

Flooding

Abbey Fishponds in floodAs mentioned last month, the recent flooding should be a wake-up call about building in places that can’t be kept dry. The flooding of the fishponds and playing fields from the Chilbrook, which is only a small stream, was impressive. There will be more money in the budget for flood defences, and there will be a cross-agency process to improve on our flood preparedness and responses.

A40 update

No further progress to report. Discussions with Homes England continue. The public enquiry on the other HIF scheme, based in Didcot, commenced today.

You may have seen that the A40 cycle route is being scraped, to restore it to its original width after decades of neglect. It makes a huge difference - two before and after photos follow.

The section near Cassington and the Barnard Gate to Witney section has now been completed.

As ever, please contact me on dan.levy@oxfordshire.gov.uk

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