Laura Sharman 20 January 2015

County accused of wasting money on unitary bid

County accused of wasting money on unitary bid image

Oxford City Council and four district councils have united to reject calls for a single unitary council in Oxfordshire, claiming the savings possible have been ‘vastly overstated’.

Responding to a report published yesterday - which said a unitary council would save the county £33m a year - the councils have publically opposed the move.

In a joint statement, the leaders of Cherwell, South Oxfordshire, Vale of White Horse and West Oxfordshire District Councils said they were ‘disappointed’ the report had been commissioned and published at taxpayers’ expense.

They said the report had no regard for actual service delivery arrangements, had exaggerated the savings available and had understated the cost of implementation.

The statement said: ‘The county council answer to its financial woes is to blame someone else, whether it be Government or, in this case, rural residents who will not want a one-size fits all service. This approach to calling for council boundary restructure is of the last century.

‘It is contrary to Government policy, which says “don't waste your time and money on unitary bids”. It appears once again that the county council is ignoring national guidance, in the same way that it did when offered government incentives to freeze Council Tax - unlike the rural districts which have frozen, or reduced, tax levels charged to residents.’

The leader of Oxford City Council, Cllr Bob Price, also accused the county of using the proposals as ‘an ill-disguised bid to grab the carefully managed resources of the districts to plug holes in its budget’.

Cllr Price added: ‘Instead of wasting its money - and everyone else's time - the county council should be using its influence to reverse the harsh cuts in government funding.’

Participatory budgeting image

Participatory budgeting

Evgeny Barkov explains what participatory budgeting means and how it can reveal what citizens need.
For your free daily news bulletin
Highways jobs

Device Management Engineer

Essex County Council
£24735.0 - £29432 per annum
Please note these positions are to be offered on a 12-month, fixed term contract Essex County Council (ECC) is one of the largest and most dynamic loc England, Essex, Chelmsford
Recuriter: Essex County Council

SEN Provision Support Officer

Essex County Council
£24735.0 - £26800 per annum
Essex County Council (ECC) is one of the largest and most dynamic local authorities in the UK, serving a population of 1.6 million residents, and has England, Essex, Chelmsford
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Senior Legal Officer A/B – Children and Adults Safeguarding

Kirklees Metropolitan Council
£33,799 - £41,675
he Safeguarding Children and Adults Team is one of the specialist teams within Legal Services and acts for the Council in connection with a... Kirklees, West Yorkshire
Recuriter: Kirklees Metropolitan Council

Qualified Social Workers - Adult Services Teams

Essex County Council
£30906 - £42254 per annum
Interviews will be virtual interviews via video calling (Microsoft Teams)Essex County Council continues to review its ways of working during the ongoi England, Essex, Basildon
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Technician - Structures

Milton Keynes Council
£24,799 - £28,785
We’re looking for talented individuals to be part of our expanding team working on everything from local schemes to... Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire
Recuriter: Milton Keynes Council

Public Property

Latest issue - Public Property News

This issue of Public Property examines how how flexible workspaces can lead the way in regeneration for local authorities, Why local authority intervention is key to successful urban regeneration schemes and if the Government’s challenge of embracing beauty is an opportunity for communities.

The March issue also takes a closer look at Blackburn with Darwen Council's first digital health hub to help people gain control over health and care services.

Register for your free digital issue