Talking Oxfordshire in Banbury

Oxfordshire County Council is running a series of meetings to find people's views on which services are important to you, and how to fund them.

At the Talking Oxfordshire meetings, a independent chair will ask people to tell the listening county council heads of department, what you think about their proposal to make another £60 million of cuts on top of the £200 million they are already doing. The meeting organisers say,

Before making these tough financial decisions, we want to hear from residents about the services  they value most and how we can make savings.

I spoke to the organisers, the council engagement teams. They are interested to hear, and will report on, all ideas, not just ones on savings. If participants ask for an increase in council tax, or other ways of getting the richest in the county to pay, then that will go in.

But the main thing they need to hear, is people's stories of how they are helped by council services, and how they have already been affected by the current cuts (such as paying up to £22 for a visit to a day centre).

Please go along with your stories, and tell people who use the services to turn up. Don't let the meetings be dominated by the selfish rich.

October 14, 2013 at 7:30pm - 9pm
Banbury Town Hall
Bridge Street
Banbury OX16 5QB
United Kingdom
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David Newman ·

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  • David Newman
    commented 2013-10-14 23:23:22 +0100
    Brief notes from Colin Clark, who went to the meeting.

    Packed meeting. At least 240+. Some people turned away at first but allowed in after intervention of Chief Fire Officer. Present : Leader, Deputy Leader, Cabinet, Chief Ex and other chiefs.
    Audience ratio 4 women for each man. Huge attendance from Children’s Centres service users, staff and supporters from Banbury, Bicester and Chippy. Why no meeting in those last two places they asked?

    Key points

    Hudspeth challenged over what representations he has made to Gov re effect of cuts on OCC.
    He replied that he made personal representations. Audience in uproar, they said he is Leader and asked what formal reps were made? Will he publish the exchanges was asked. (Should we make a FOI request). No answer from Hudspeth.

    90% of questions re Children’s Centres. Many made point that Centres save money by early interventions. Many personal and emotive testimonies. OCC staff had been briefed of cuts that would only leave centres one each, in Banbury, Oxford and South, Didcot was mentioned. OCC arguing for reduction in service to minimum statutory level, ie. their interpretation of deprivation. Audience argued on the basis of need but not being needy.

    One speaker called for a straw poll. Result meeting overwhelming voted for a referendum for 4% increase in council tax that would raise £5m. John displayed controlled rage over the small weekly sum involved. The CEx drew attention to the cost of a referendum next May. Quote is now £500k, why so much if district and EU elections same day.

    Bicester made point of forthcoming bigger population and greater tax take.

    Leader said his biggest post bag was complaints over pot holes.

    One speaker spoke of the disgrace (my words) of playing one vulnerable group of against another.

    NHS/OCC joint working under threats of cuts.

    Oxford meeting tomorrow. An even bigger meeting I expect. Get there early.


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