Joint statement on the budget from political leaders on Oxfordshire County Council
Children’s centres and day services for the elderly all benefit from the changes.
The council still needs to make £69m of savings up to 2020. However negotiations between political groups have led to the savings being configured in a different way.
Councillors met at 10am on Tuesday, February 16 and heard ninety minutes of speeches from campaigners.
The meeting was then adjourned on a number of occasions so that councillors could re-examine the budget and reach common ground.
Councillor Ian Hudspeth, the Leader of the Council (Conservative), Councillor Liz Brighouse (Labour), the leader of the Opposition, and Councillor Richard Webber, the leader of the Liberal Democrat group, said:
“We felt strongly that, given the unprecedented financial position that Oxfordshire County Council in particular and local government in general is facing, we had to come to a cross party agreement on what is best for Oxfordshire.
“These changes and the agreement we have made are also very much in response to feedback from local residents including those who spoke to the council earlier today.”
Summary of changes
- A total of £2m of savings relating to Early Intervention hubs and children’s centres will now not take place. An original £6m saving on Early Intervention Hubs and Children’s Centres - agreed by the council at its annual budget meeting in February 2015 - will still take place. No decisions have been taken at this stage on how this £2m will be spent.
- A total of £3m of savings relating to day centres (including transport to day centres) will now not take place. Instead they will be replaced by a saving of £1m from 2017/18 resulting from a full review of all day services for older people.
- There will be a further £300,000 contribution to the budget from reserves.
The net result of this is that the council will be able to set a balanced budget in 2016/17 but over the medium term now has £15.2m of unidentified savings to make as opposed to the previous figure of £11.2m. The new £4m of unidentified savings all fall in 2017/18.
Other important elements
- A cross party board of county councillors will be created to consider maximum benefit of use of the £4m of temporary funds awarded by central Government on February 11.
- The council will commit to a full review relating to a workplace parking levy looking at implications and with a view to implementation as early as feasible.
- There will be a review of the number of cabinet members
- There will be a free vote for all councillors on the subject of a full and timetabled consultation relating to unitary government – to discuss this issue on a cross party basis with district, town and parish councils with the clear aim of bringing it to fruition.
- Read a copy of Cllr Ian Hudspeth, Leader of Oxfordshire County Council's Budget speech here
- Copies of the Council papers are available here, amendments will be added in due course
- Read a copy of the Council's Corporate Plan which sets out Oxfordshire County Council's priorities