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Working for Our Communities in Oxfordshire

County Council Liberal Democrat GroupThis is the website of Oxfordshire County Council Liberal Democrat Group. There are 11 Liberal Democrat Councillors on Oxfordshire County Council.

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We hope this site is a useful resource for local people to find out more about the Oxfordshire Liberal Democrat Group and what we are doing on the Council. However, we would like the site to be more than this. Online you can:

Recent updates

  • Article: Jun 15, 2016
    By Cllr Richard Webber in Website and Media

    A Response to the recently released District and City Proposals for Unitary Government in Oxfordshire

    The Liberal Democrats are determined to push for a careful consideration of the reports on Unitary Government in Oxfordshire which will be available in the next two months. The Tory controlled Districts and the Labour controlled City should not be trying to skew the results before we have the evidence of the reports. If the Districts and City have already decided their position, why are they spending large sums of public money on an "independent" report and ignoring the views of Oxfordshire residents. What sort of democracy is this? Let's get the evidence, then have an adult conversation with all the ratepayers we serve before we form any conclusions.

  • Article: May 31, 2016
    By Cllr Richard Webber in The Oxford Times Letters

    Letter sent to The Oxford Times

    Dear Sir,

    In an article of Thursday May 26th, your correspondent writes of the county council's proposals to "scrap the District Council's and become a Unitary Council itself". Such a misunderstanding clouds the whole debate in self-interest. The County Council has no such proposals. The proposal is, however, very simple. All District Councils and theCounty should disband and a new Unitary system with fewer councils, fewer offices, fewer councilors and fewer sets of staff put in place. We wait to hear from the various studies what each of the various options might save Oxfordshire ratepayers.

  • Article: May 31, 2016
    By Cllr Janet Godden in Consultation on Childrens' Centres

    [Response of the County Council Lib Dem group to the consultation on children's centres, summer 2015]

    • We believe that the implication in the Cabinet report of 15 September 2015 that the options for the children's centres contained in the report were 'recommended by the cross-party group' is misleading. That report did not have the agreement of the Liberal Democrat Group, and the budget for 2015/16 that contained the cut of £6m was not supported by this Group.
  • Article: Feb 17, 2016
    By Cllr Richard Webber

    Oxfordshire County Council Liberal Democrats budget proposal for a County Unitary Authority was accepted yesterday by a cross-party agreement to put forward the best deal for Oxfordshire residents.

    It was agreed to accept the Labour budget amendment proposals which offered more time to find a long-term solution to OCC's woes, but it is no more than a short term fix. We all know that, unless there is a dramatic shift in Government thinking, we will all be back at the table managing the Council's finances and services further downwards inside twelve months.

    Recent history suggests that arguing with Westminster and our MPs is not going to persuade them that Local Government is seriously under-funded. Oxfordshire desperately needs its own solution - no-one else will provide one. The new, firm commitment (59 for, 3 against) of the Council "to consult Oxfordshire residents on Unitary Government for Oxfordshire with the clear intention to deliver as soon as possible" is, in the view of the Liberal Democrat Group, the only idea which could fix the problems long term and save many, if not all of the services currently under threat. That is why we insisted it should be part of the budget proposals, and that is why the Council voted for it.

    Cllr. Richard Webber, Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group said "This year was one of the worst on record for trying to find a solution to the cuts imposed on Oxfordshire County Council year on year. We decided that it was in the public interest to ask the residents of Oxfordshire if they want to move forward with a Unitary Council for the whole county. This will deliver at least £33M of savings which will help to provide front-line services in the long term which matter most to them."

  • Article: Feb 15, 2016
    By Cllr Richard Webber

    The September Cabinet Advisory Group report did not have the agreement of the Liberal Democrat Group, and the 15/16 budget was not supported by the Liberal Democrat Group.

    None of the three options listed in the Cabinet report of 15 Sept, on which the consultation was based, provided a workable solution. In each case the risks outweigh the economic benefits.

  • Article: Feb 15, 2016
    By Cllr Richard Webber in Budget Council Papers

    Budget Proposal On behalf of the Liberal Democrat Group

    The Liberal Democrat Group has been fighting hard to prevent the wholesale closure of Children's Centres, the removal of all bus subsidies, and the drastic reduction in adult social care provision - all of which are being put forward, with other unwelcome measures, by the ruling administration in their budget proposals. We believe that none of this is in the best interests of Oxfordshire residents.

  • Article: Feb 15, 2016
    By Cllr Bob Johnston & Cllr John Howson

    "Threats to cut bus routes by Oxfordshire County Council will devastate communities and isolate people who depend on public transport on a daily basis" Cllr Bob Johnston Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Transport said.

    Liberal Democrats in Oxfordshire are asking the council to protect their buses from deepening local authority budgets cuts.

  • Article: Feb 15, 2016
    By Cllr Richard Webber

    Let Oxfordshire Residents decide…

    The County Council's ruling Conservative & Independent Alliance is proposing wholesale cuts to social services, adult care, subsidised bus services, children's centres and much more. Angry residents (including members of the Cameron family) reject these proposals as avoidable and unnecessary.

  • Article: Feb 5, 2016
    By Cllr John Howson

    The Government has axed support that helps small schools with 150 pupils or fewer fund universal free meals for infants.

    In 2015/6 the money was worth at least £2,300 for these schools.

    Universal Free School Meals were a key Liberal Democrat policy delivered in the Coalition Government to provide every infant child in England with a healthy meal at lunchtime, saving families around £437 per child per year.

    Evidence shows that where children have been given a free school dinner, students were months ahead academically of their peers elsewhere. These academic improvements were most marked among children from less affluent families.

    Schools with 150 or fewer pupils were this year given a grant worth £2,300 to help deliver the policy.

    Liberal Democrat education spokesperson on Oxfordshire County Council, John Howson said:

    "Many schools live with tight budgets and this taken with other government actions could threaten the viability of some small rural schools. Whitehall seemed to care about the bottom line rather than helping the most disadvantaged pupils. They need to put attainment before profit.

    "It is a horrific decision and it will both hurt rural communities in Oxfordshire who deserve better than this, especially on top of other cuts to services being imposed by the Tories and small schools in our towns and urban areas"


    Cllr Howson is attending the Liberal Democrat Education Association annual conference this weekend.

  • Article: Aug 3, 2015
    By Cllr John Howson and Cllr Jean Fooks in Oxford Mail

    Dear Sir,

    We are pleased about investment in the railways, taking to move freight off roads, but this means much greater activity on existing lines, some of which in Oxford, run alongside homes, from the station through Jericho to Wolvercote, where the former branch line to Bicester is to become part of a busy East-West route. We understand people's concerns about the impact on their lives.

    The City Council seems to have very limited powers to reduce the noise and vibration from both passenger and, more importantly, freight trains. One way to improve the situation is for Network Rail to build the flyover, said to be needed for future rail capacity, further north than currently proposed, so it is built north of the A40. This would remove trains from Upper Wolvercote completely.

    Sadly the Conservative-run County Council withdrew the rail strategy from the new Local Transport Plan; when re-written it should consider this option as it would benefit residents.

    For people south of Wolvercote we expect that Nicola Blackwood MP, who promised to stand up for residents, to put much greater pressure on Network Rail to provide noise barriers and to replace as much as possible of the vegetation removed by Network Rail.

    The Labour-run City Council has failed to listen to the concerns of residents along the railway in both the St Margaret's and Summertown divisions.

    Both Councils and the MP should be doing all they can to ensure that their constituents are protected from the downside of increased rail investment.

    Cllr John Howson

    Cllr Jean Fooks

    Lib Dem County Councillors

    Oxfordshire County Council

    County Hall