Oxford City Council budget decision

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  • Oxford City Council's budget includes cuts of £5.4m by 2018.
  • Parking fees will go up by as much as nine per cent while council house rents will go up by an average of 5.42 per cent.
  • Between 2010 and 2015/16 the council's grant from central government will have fallen by around 47 per cent.

8:29pm

The council tax increase of 1.99 per cent is agreed and the meeting ends.

8:28pm

This is also passed.

8:27pm

Now the treasury management strategy is being discussed.

8:26pm

The corporate plan has been passed.

8:25pm

Mr Price says there are "good logical reasons" behind the lower targets.

8:24pm

Green leader Craig Simmons criticises the fact that a number of the councils targets are being reduced.

8:23pm

Ed Turner says it never promised to provide any funding.

8:22pm

Lib Dem leader Jean Fooks again criticises the city council for not contributing towards East West rail.

8:20pm

Bob Price says he is happy to accept an amendment by Lib Dem councillor Jim Campbell which references the Covered Market.

8:18pm

The council is now discussing its corporate plan.

8:17pm

The budget has been approved with 27 votes for, eight against and five abstentions.

8:15pm

The vote on the budget will now be held. This will be named.

8:14pm

All the amendments have been defeated.

8:13pm

The votes are now being held.

8:12pm

The votes are now being held.

8:12pm

Green leader Craig Simmons seconds the joint Lib Dem/Green budget saying: "We need to unite against the county council and the coalition government.

"There is nothing to say we cannot make a good budget better. We don't have a monopoly on good ideas."

8:08pm

Jean Fooks is now talking about dial a ride and says there is money "sitting in the bank" which could be used "to help the elderly and disabled in Oxford."

8:07pm

He says the situation is an "anomaly" and would "take pressure off residents".

8:05pm

The various amendments are now being seconded. First up Stuart McCready talks about parking at parks.

8:04pm

Colin Cook, the executive board member for city development said: "You can tell how good this budget is by the brevity of the amendments."

7:59pm

Bev Clack, Labour councillor, says the budget manages to keep the idea "that culture and the arts are for everyone and not just the well off."

7:54pm

Labour councillor Steve Curran says the county council represents "the forces of darkness".

7:50pm

Labour councillor Van Coulter said: "This budget, put together by our staff, provides the best possible outcomes in some of the most difficult times when government is taking away funding and trying to set up councils to fail."

7:46pm

Green councillor David Williams criticises the Conservative run county council cuts, including to homelessness services, which is met with applause across the room.

7:41pm

Oscar Van Nooijen, Labour councillor, says the budget was put together in a consensual way and criticises the Lib Dem proposals claiming they would mean "more committees".

7:38pm

She says the administration is "not willing to listen".

7:38pm

Ms Fooks says it is "shameful" that the council is not contributing towards the East West rail project despite joining the consortium, amid cries of "nonsense" from the Labour benches.

7:35pm

Labour councillor Saj Malik blames the bankers for the recession and says the size of the Labour majority shows his party knows what he people of the city want.

7:33pm

Mike Rowley, the executive board member for leisure services, says the council has shown financial prudence which will allow it to make a small surplus from its leisure centres.

7:30pm

He says he will vote for the budget because his Labour colleague Gill Sanders told him so, but quickly retracts.

7:29pm

Speaking about the joint opposition budget John Tanner, Labour's executive board member for cleaner greener Oxford, said: "There is no understanding of how yo actually run a council."

7:24pm

A general discussion is now starting on the budget and Lib Dem councillor Mohammed Altar Khan begins by blaming the Labour party for the recession.

7:22pm

Green councillor Sam Hollick is proposing an inflation cap on rent rises for council homes and extra funding for homelessness.

7:20pm

This includes the parking in parks proposal, additional grants fr debt advice and funding to pay towards East Wes rail and the purchase of the Gladiator Club in Iffley Road.

7:18pm

Jean Fooks is now presenting a joint Lib Dem/Green budget which she says picks the best of their opposition proposals.

7:16pm

The second motion is being presented by Lib Dem Mark Mills which will see the council fund the dial a ride service for the frail and elderly.

7:14pm

The first amendment is presented by Jean Fooks, the leader of the Lib Dem group, who is proposing an hour of free parking at city parks.

7:12pm

There will now be five proposed amendments to the budget followed by votes on each and then a vote on the budget itself.

7:10pm

The councillors have returned to the council chamber and the meeting is resuming.

6:36pm

The meeting is now breaking for half an hour.

6:36pm

The Green budget is defeated 35 votes to four.

6:34pm

Now the vote on the Green budget is taking place, which is again named.

6:30pm

He says some of the proposals are "naive".

6:29pm

Scott Seamons, the executive board member for housing, says the Greens "do not see the ambition for new build housing long into the future."

6:27pm

Mark Mills, the Lib Dem spokesman on finance, said: "We are not hostile to this s budget but we are wary."

6:25pm

He says the budget underestimates the cost of a number of its proposals and says it is an "amendment full of holes."

6:22pm

Mr Turner said: "Some of this sounds plausible but there are some real problems."

6:21pm

He says the council should do more on low carbon developments and says he group has put £2m towards making sure the homes in the Barton West development are low carbon.

6:19pm

Craig Simmons says his group has identified another £1.5m for flood mitigation. He says the council has to show the Environment Agency "the colour of its money".

6:14pm

He also says that the Green group is proposing a cap on council house rents at inflation from 2016.

6:12pm

Green councillor Sam Hollick says the group would invest in setting up a council letting agency to drive up housing standards.

6:11pm

He says he agrees with most of the budget proposal but says his group is trying to "show how we would do more with less"

6:10pm

Craig Simmons, the leader of the Green group, said: "At  time of austerity we believe it is a very good time to be investing."

6:07pm

The Green group now moves onto its budget.

6:06pm

The Lib Dem budget fails 29 votes to 11.

6:05pm

A vote is now being held on the Lib Dem budget. This will be a named vote which means each councillor's name will be read out and they will respond "for" or "against".

5:58pm

He said: "It removes planning from the locality. It makes people feel that planning is something being done to them."

5:56pm

Lib Dem councillor John Goddard says area committees were abolished to make sure planning committees have a Labour majority.

5:54pm

Lib Dem councillor Graham Jones said: "There is not quite the level of ambition that  we ought to be aspiring to."

5:50pm

Bob Price says it would be a waste of the council's money contributing towards East West rail because it will be primarily for freight. He also adds that the council is planning on contributing towards the redevelopment of Oxford Station.

5:48pm

"This is not a bad or evil amendment but it doesn't add a lot," he says.

5:45pm

On the Lib Dem plans to replace the funding the county council has cut funding for homelessness services, he says: "We shouldn't say to council that we accept your cuts and we are not going to lobby anymore and we will pick up the pieces."

5:42pm

Ed Turner responds by saying it is an "itsy bitsy amendment".

5:41pm

She says: "This is an improvement on what is, I will conceed, a good budget but it could be better."

5:40pm

Her group's budget is also putting aside £50,000 more than the administration's towards improving the Covered Market.

5:37pm

The Lib Dem budget also includes funding for a free hours parking at parks and cash towards the East West rail scheme which the city council has declined to contribute towards.

5:35pm

She says their budget includes extra money for homelessness prevention, the reintroduction of letters to neighbours for planning applications in their areas and of area committees which used to make planning decisions more locally.

5:32pm

Jean Fooks, the leader of the Lib Dem group, begins introducing her party's proposals.

5:31pm

Bob Price, the leader of the city council, seconds the budget which he says is the 31st he has seen discussed by the council in his time on it but the best.

5:28pm

He says that at times of austerity "our socialist values are needed the most".

5:26pm

Mr Turner also criticises Oxfordshire County Council which he says make savings "on the backs of the poorest".

5:25pm

He cites government welfare reform as a reason for this.

5:22pm

"This budget goes under the headline A Fair Future for Oxford but that future is in jeopardy," he says.

5:21pm

He says the Department for Communities and Local Government has "fallen a long way short" of the standards it expects of councils.

5:16pm

Ed Turner, the executive board member for finance, begins presenting the authority's budget.

5:14pm

In his report the council's chief finance officer Nigel Kennedy says the authority's estimates are "as robust as we can make them and the levels of reserves are adequate"

5:11pm

One of the Lord Mayor's announcements is that Quarry and Risinghurst councillor Laurence Baxter has become engaged while Bill Reed, the democratic service manager, is retiring.

5:06pm

The Labour administration will present its budget first, then the Lib Dems will present their amendments. There will be a vote on that. Then there will be a discussion on the Green amendment and there will be a vote on that. After all this there will be a vote on the final budget.

5:03pm

She begins by explaining the procedure. The meeting is expected to last three hours.

5:01pm

Lord Mayor Dee Sinclair has entered with the mace and the meeting begins.

4:50pm

Councillors are beginning to arrive at Town Hall for tonight's meeting.

Comments (4)

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4:50pm Wed 19 Feb 14

Sandy Wimpole-Smythe says...

Do any of the cuts include reductions in allowances paid to Councillors ?
Do any of the cuts include reductions in allowances paid to Councillors ? Sandy Wimpole-Smythe

8:18pm Wed 19 Feb 14

mytaxes says...

7:54pm
Labour councillor Steve Curran says the county council represents "the forces of darkness".

If this is the level of debate from Labour no wonder our council tax is so high.
7:54pm Labour councillor Steve Curran says the county council represents "the forces of darkness". If this is the level of debate from Labour no wonder our council tax is so high. mytaxes

10:20pm Wed 19 Feb 14

Myron Blatz says...

Oxford City Council's Labour Group has already 'whipped' suitable support from its politically-driven Councillors to have a majority, so everything else isn't so much 'democratic procedure' as comedic farce, which the people of Oxford will be paying dearly, for years to come, unless voters push Labour out in May, as a result of the continuing Tory-Libdem policy successes at national level.
Oxford City Council's Labour Group has already 'whipped' suitable support from its politically-driven Councillors to have a majority, so everything else isn't so much 'democratic procedure' as comedic farce, which the people of Oxford will be paying dearly, for years to come, unless voters push Labour out in May, as a result of the continuing Tory-Libdem policy successes at national level. Myron Blatz

5:46pm Wed 26 Feb 14

Madi50n says...

Surprise! The council votes in a rise 0.01% below the threshold that would trigger a public vote on the rise.
Surprise! The council votes in a rise 0.01% below the threshold that would trigger a public vote on the rise. Madi50n

Comments are closed on this article.

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