Our public services are key to how we care for each other as a society. Our schools and hospitals, teachers and care workers, should be able to put us first and provide a quality service. When private companies buy up our public services, they get run for profit and people pay the price.
Homeless, disabled and elderly people have already been made to suffer too much in Oxfordshire in recent years. In February, another brutal budget from the Tory-run Council cut vital support from the most vulnerable people in our county. These latest cuts will make a bad situation worse.
Despite huge protest from the local community, funding was slashed for homeless people, the elderly, and those with learning disabilities, among others. Key services cut include help for elderly people to get a hot meal and £1.5m of support for homeless people to get their lives back on track.
Green Party Councillors proposed an alternative balanced County budget which would have avoided £10m of the most damaging cuts. Amongst other things, the Green budget would have restored £1.5m to housing support and homelessness, £3m to children’s centres and £2.7m to the learning disability service.
Green Party councillors proposed saving such vital services by raising Council Tax by just 30p a week for the average person. City Centre Green Party councillor, Sam Coates, explains:
“We wanted to ask people if they’d be willing to chip in a little more to help their most vulnerable neighbours - because we believe that’s the right thing to do.
“In order to be legally allowed to do this, we’d need to hold a county-wide referendum. So we called on the council to let the people decide. But Labour, Tories and Lib Dems all got together to block this. We expect that kind of ruthlessness from the Tories. But it’s sad to see Labour and Lib Dem councillors once again letting through the Tory cuts rather than supporting the Green proposal to ask people to help.”