The Conservatives in Oxfordshire have released a detailed plan for absorbing all the district councils under their direct control – and the Greens are fighting against it.
The proposals would see Oxford City Council abolished, along with the four neighbouring district councils, and replaced with a new Countywide Council. There are no Tories on Oxford City Council.
County councillor David Williams says: “This is terrifying news for those of us in Oxfordshire who value our radical spirit, our care for the environment and our welcoming culture. Whilst we constantly call Labour to account for taking our county for granted, they at least say they care about the same things as us: tackling the housing crisis, looking after our vulnerable and homeless neighbours for example.
The sea of blue surrounding Oxford means if our city was absorbed into this new mega-council, the Tories could easily outsource council housing, hike rents for tenants and close the remaining beds for homeless people. That's before we even get into what the Tories might do to roll back years of environment progress in Oxford, delivered by Green councillors piling pressure on Labour.
Only the Green Party are standing up to this Tory takeover of our county.
This monolithic authority would cover over 600,000 people, a figure totally unheard of outside of Britain's largest cities. Not only would the plans leave Oxfordshire to a small Conservative elite, it would be remote from residents and communities. There will be only one councillor for every 7,000 residents. Decisions will be made by councillors who don't know your area, but do know developers.
Sadly, the Labour and Liberal Democrat leaders in Oxfordshire have backed the plans, meaning it’s up to us Greens to stay on the county council scrutinising the plans, and making the alternative arguments heard.
Finally, if these plans do go ahead, now is when we need more Greens on Oxfordshire to defend the interests of our city and our most vulnerable neighbours. There might not be another election before the change”.
You can support David Williams’ county election campaign by visiting Oxford to help knock on doors in his division. Oxford Greens need as much help as they can get. Please contact David Newman <[email protected]>