Monday, 21 August 2017

Council proposes merger

THE creation of a single council for Oxfordshire could save up to £32.5 million a year.

THE creation of a single council for Oxfordshire could save up to £32.5 million a year.

A report commissioned by the county council says the authority should merge with Oxfordshire’s four district councils and Oxford City Council.

Auditor Ernst and Young says a unitary council would be more efficient, allowing more than three-quarters of council tax bills to be reduced.

County council leader Ian Hudspeth said: “We are beyond the point where further savings can be achieved by finding more efficiencies or ‘salami slicing’ of services.

“After looking at all the options for reducing our costs and still needing to find more savings, it was clear we needed a game-changer to protect services in the longer term.



“This would also create a once-in-a-generation chance to invest in Oxfordshire’s transport network, including road and public transport improvements.”

South Oxfordshire District Council and its three counterparts said they were “disappointed” that the £40,000 report had been commissioned without their knowledge or input.

They claimed the auditor’s figures were “error-strewn” and “fundamentally flawed” and that the likely savings were nearer £13.5 million.

The report had been written “using high-level assumptions and having no regard to actual service delivery arrangements on the ground”.

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