Each year, Oxfordshire’s Green Party County Councillors create a fully costed budget to improve upon the one offered to the County Council by the ruling Conservatives. This year the County Council is permitted to increase council tax by just under 5%. The Greens want a referendum in the County to allow the public to support a 7% increase. Leader of the County Council Green Group, David Williams, explains why:
Leader of the County Council Green Group, David Williams, explains why:
After about £300 million of cuts in Oxfordshire County Council spending, the damage done to services is apparent. Adult social care, including support for homeless people, those with mental health problems and the elderly being supported at home, has all been cut back. Threats to the number of day care centres, very important for supporting the elderly, can be removed if our budget proposal is accepted. Securing the long-term future of Children’s Centres and restoring subsidised bus services which have been lost are part our budget. Because of the Government’s imposed rules, we need a referendum to support an council tax increase of 7%, because the Government only allows one of less than 5% without a referendum.
David Williams adds:
A 7% increase in Council tax means just 50p more per household per week than if the Conservative budget is passed during February. This is a very small amount. We do not want homeless people sleeping in doorways. We do not want confused and distressed elderly people wandering the streets because the support being given to them at home is withdrawn. We do not want those in need to have to try to find help in doctor’s surgeries, or Accident and Emergency, or from the Police, because support to them has been cut.