The Green’s alternative budget would save essential services – for just 50p a week per household.
Cllr David Williams, the Leader of the Green Group on the County Council, has called on the Tory leadership of the Council to back a referendum on cuts to services, in the hope of Central Government doing a ‘Sweetheart’ deal of millions of pounds of extra cash to the authority. He explains: “Surrey County Council, a Conservative controlled local authority, threatened to hold a referendum because they needed a 15% rise in Council tax to simply meet their legal obligations to deliver services. After secret, but leaked, negotiations, they have been promised the millions they need to bridge the gap in their funding.”
Councillor Williams notes, “Oxfordshire is in a similar position to Surrey and has had £300 million taken out from budgets since 2010. The County Council is planning to cut another £77 million over the next three years. If the Government can cough up for Surrey then why not Oxfordshire? It’s Tory controlled and we desperate need the extra money that such a ‘Sweet heart’ Deal would bring. It is this or witness vulnerable elderly people and the homeless wandering the streets in larger numbers.
“It appears local MPs in Surrey, which include the Chancellor of the Exchequer, have lobbied the Government to provide the extra millions because a referendum may prove embarrassing and at 15% might not be won. Our County could Green alternative budget which only commits the Authority to an extra 2% above the permitted 5% this year (50p per week on average council tax per household)(2). This would require a referendum. Threatening to do this would signal Government that the authority is in dire straits, forcing a Surrey-type deal.”
- Since average occupancy of Oxfordshire’s houses is just over 2 people a home, this works out at about 20p per person in each household paying council tax, on average.