Greens call for referendum on County cuts

Earlier this year, the County Green Group proposed a referendum on Council Tax levels to help avoid the worst effects of the Government cuts.

Strong support for a referendum on raising council tax has now also emerged in the public consultations that have been held by the County Council on their plans for massive cuts in services. Overwhelming votes to support a referendum on the issue were taken at the Banbury and Oxford meetings on Monday and Tuesday this week indicated that people were willing to pay more than the Coalition Govt are permitting without a referendum (2%). 

Green Councillor David Williams said that the over 80% vote by show of hands of the 240 people at the Banbury meeting and the 300 at the Oxford meeting indicated that people thought the Government inspired cuts had gone too far and were damaging every area of local authority services and that people were willing to pay a little more on their rate bill to protect Children's Centres, care for the elderly, libraries and disabled children.

At both meetings Councillor Ian Hudspeth the leader of the County Council seemed to rule out the idea of a referendum which must be held if a proposal is made to increase the budget by more than 2%.

The Leader of the Greens Cllr. Williams said that the range of cuts (now estimated at over £260 million) was so huge that everybody was effected by them hence the recognition that something drastic had to be done. A referendum was at the heart of the budget put forward by the Greens at the last budget setting in February and voted down at the time by the major parties.

The budget public meeting consultations was launched when Conservative and the Labour County Councillors who backed a motion for further deep cuts at the last County Council Meeting in September.At that meeting Liberal Democrats abstained and the Greens voted against.

Cllr. Williams also asked that there should be an immediate all party delegation to meet Mr Eric Pickles the Local Government Minister to outline why the cuts in local government were a false economy and why the level of cuts against Oxfordshire was mean and vindictive.

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