Leader’s statement: our commitment to equality and inclusivity

Over the past months we have seen an extraordinary outpouring of community spirit across Oxfordshire. Dedicated essential workers, from an incredible diversity of backgrounds - in the health and emergency services, local authorities, schools, utilities, retail and delivery services - have worked in the most difficult of circumstances to keep us safe and provided for, while charities, religious communities, businesses, neighbourhoods and volunteers have come together to support the most vulnerable amongst us. The devastating impact of the pandemic has been felt across our community in so many ways, but what it has illustrated with absolute clarity is that we are stronger together and that Oxfordshire communities care.

While we should all be extremely proud of this response, we are also reminded at this time of the inequality in our society. The sickening and senseless death of George Floyd, and the protests and demonstrations that are taking place across the US and UK, bring into sharp relief the injustice and oppression experienced by many. Whether we consider outcomes in health, education, employment or indeed representation amongst our political leadership, we all know that we need to do much much more to make our commitment to equality and justice for all real and sustained. I know that you will join me in condemning injustice and standing for equality and inclusivity. But I also ask you to join me in considering what changes we all need to make to ensure that every single one of us is able to meet our potential in an optimistic, inclusive and diverse Oxfordshire.

Councillor Ian Hudspeth, Leader of Oxfordshire County Council