Local Government reorganisation
Decision status: Recommendations Approved
Is Key decision?: No
Is subject to call in?: No
Cllr Brown, seconded by Cllr Hayes proposed the submitted motion as set out in the agenda and briefing note,
Cllr Roz Smith, seconded by Cllr Gant proposed the amendment as set out in the briefing note.
After debate and on being put to the vote the amendment was not agreed.
After debate and on being put to the vote the original motion was agreed.
Council resolved to adopt the following motion:
This Council notes that despite the urgent need to concentrate on recovery from the COVID pandemic and lockdown, the Government seem determined to pursue local government reorganisation as part of an explicit centralising and anti-democratic agenda. Evidence of the same agenda is clear in proposals for planning and for the NHS. The Government’s criteria require over-large local authorities remote from their populations, and elected mayors whose primary accountability will be to Central Government rather than to local people.
This Council recognises the enormous economic and social challenge currently facing our city and our most vulnerable citizens and states its firm resolve to take every opportunity to support local businesses, local people and their health and well-being.
Council notes that local business leaders and employers have clearly said that now is not the time for local government to be looking inward, but to be working together to solve the problems the current crisis has caused. This Council agrees.
This Council is appalled that it is in this context that the government is proposing instead to reorganise local government for ideological reasons, putting at risk our ability to support our city and its citizens in their time of need.
If, as now seems possible, the government itself feels that this is not the right approach, this Council calls upon them to make that clear. This council notes that leading Labour, Tory, Liberal Democrat and Green councillors from across the county are on the record as saying they do not support the imposition against local people’s wishes of a large, remote and over centralised authority.
This Council makes clear that the expense and disruption caused by a reorganisation now would be a wilful act of harm to Oxford, our economy and our citizens.
This Council therefore asks the Leader to write to the Secretary of State to make clear their proposals for local government and to seek reassurance for local citizens that no such reorganisation will be imposed upon Oxford. Instead this Council asks that the Government gives the necessary powers and financial support to all Oxfordshire’s local authorities in this time of crisis.
Publication date: 16/10/2020
Date of decision: 05/10/2020
Decided at meeting: 05/10/2020 - Council