Sir – I want to take issue with blog comments that the Liberal Democrats had their “twopenny-worth” with their insistence on a consultation on future unitary government for Oxfordshire as a condition of supporting the amended budget.

The Labour budget proposals offered us 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 12 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.

The Liberal Democrats’ “twopenny-worth” is potentially worth many millions per annum and could save all those things we really care about once and for all.

Richard Webber
Leader Liberal Democrat Group
Oxfordshire County Council