BREAKING: Unitary proposals are submitted to central government

A new council for a Better Oxfordshire. Press briefing at Said Business School, Oxford. 3rd March 2017. Contact: emily.reed@oxfordshire.gov.uk Picture: Andrew Walmsley NNL-170603-170507001
A new council for a Better Oxfordshire. Press briefing at Said Business School, Oxford. 3rd March 2017. Contact: emily.reed@oxfordshire.gov.uk Picture: Andrew Walmsley NNL-170603-170507001
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The final proposal for a unitary authority in Oxfordshire has been submitted to central government today, Thursday.

The joint proposal, entitled ‘A new council for a Better Oxfordshire’, is being backed by Oxfordshire County Council (OCC), Vale of White Horse District Council (VWHDC) and South Oxfordshire District Council (SODC) and contains some key changes from previous drafts.

The proposal sets out the creation of between 15 and 20 local area boards which will cover market towns and surrounding rural areas giving communities a strong voice and ensuring that local matters are heard.

It says the benefits of a unitary authority include a streamlining of services and better value for money.

In a joint statement, Oxfordshire County Council leader Ian Hudspeth, Vale of White Horse District Council leader, Matthew Barber, and John Cotton, leader of South Oxfordshire District Council said: “We have submitted proposals for a single council for Oxfordshire to the secretary of state for communities and local government today.

“Our three councils have listened to the views of residents, businesses and other organisations across Oxfordshire and worked hard to address any concerns in the final bid – and with 70 per cent of those surveyed showing support for a single unitary, we know we are on the right track.

“This is a significant moment for us and for the communities of Oxfordshire, who under a new single council will receive better, simpler joined up services, saving taxpayers millions of pounds each year and ensuring good quality services for generations to come.

“We believe local government reorganisation is vital to protect council services as central government funding is reduced, and to secure the investment in infrastructure needed to support sustainable economic growth in Oxfordshire.

“It is expected that the government will make a final decision on our proposal later this year, but work is already underway to ensure all six councils work together effectively on delivering a new council for Oxfordshire in 2019.”