District Councils tell County Council to get on board with the study on Unitary options

Published: Friday, 18th March 2016

District Councils have begun to commission a study into the future of local government.

Councillor Matthew Barber, Leader of Vale of White Horse District Council, has called on Oxfordshire County Council to “co-operate with the work being undertaken and not to waste the public’s money duplicating the study”.

The District Councils are currently selecting a leading company of experts to look at all the options for change, including creating four unitary councils representing people from the Cotswolds to South Northants, including Oxford City. Seven different councils have come together to commission the study jointly.

Councillor Barber, speaking on behalf of the District Councils, said: “Everyone knows that the County Council is having extreme budget difficulties, leading to cuts in services people value – two tier local government is broken in our view and we want to look at all the options for unitary councils.”

The study will look at the likely impact of: 

  1. Four Councils covering Oxfordshire, the Cotswolds and South Northants;
  2. Three Councils;
  3. Two Councils for the County;
  4. A single Oxfordshire unitary.

Councillor Barber added: “We have included the options the County Council have publically stated they want to look at. It’s time for them to co-operate with the work being undertaken on the future of local government and the public will not forgive them if they duplicate the work at this late stage. The train is moving out of the station and it’s time to stop shouting from the side-lines and get on board.”