Councillor Bob Price, Leader of Oxford City Council, responds to the launch of Oxfordshire County Council’s “Better Oxfordshire” proposal.
Councillor Price said: “The County Council’s revised proposal confirms its plan to remove from local control almost all issues that really matter to people’s quality of life.
- Decision making on key issues affecting people’s lives will no longer be made locally. For example, control over council housing, economic growth and development planning would be removed from local control and managed centrally.
- Governance of the city is still not addressed in a way that city residents would find acceptable. Instead, Oxford residents are offered a ‘convention’ that no one really understands and shows that the County Council still does not know how to manage the unique requirements of the city.
- The proposals have continually been altered. The County Council should send the latest proposals to every household in Oxfordshire for comment before wholesale changes are made to local accountability and decision making.
- We just do not believe the County Council’s figures. The latest figures suggest that council tax would be kept low in the rural districts and inflated in the city through what is currently an illegal additional charge to city residents (known as a precept).
“Our position remains the same. We call on the County Council to end this wasteful exercise that now seems more confused than ever and focus instead on solving the issues we are all facing over housing, infrastructure and skills shortages.”