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Cllr Ian Hudspeth-Leader Oxfordshire County Council-January 2019 report   ()

WOODSTOCK LIBRARY  

We are working hard to find a short term and long-term solution for the Woodstock library, this will probably involve some difficult choices. The building has been deemed unsafe and needs to be totally rebuilt at a time when we do not have the funds for such an exercise. The library has temporarily moved to the Innovation section of the Oxfordshire Museum. This means that the valuable library facility will continue in Woodstock whilst all options for the permanent location of the library can be considered.

 

BUDGET 

Oxfordshire County Council’s budget will be set by all councillors on Tuesday 12th February, the proposals have been announced enabling scrutiny committees to consider them and make recommendations prior to the budget meeting.

 

Although there is still a need to find savings these should be delivered through the Transformation project enabling us to maintain frontline services as much as possible. The proposal is to increase council tax by 2.99 per cent in 2019/20 and 1.99 per cent in the years after.

 

Currently the council is anticipating raising its children’s social care budget once more. In 2011 the budget was £46m and it is currently predicted to be £95m in 2023. The number of children in care in Oxfordshire has risen from 425 in 2011 to more than 790 in 2018.

 

In adult social care the council has consistently set aside more than £5m a year to deal with the increasing numbers of people entering care that has been experienced across England. This will continue adding to the pressure on the social care system. We are awaiting the government’s Green paper which should provide a longer term solution to funding for social care.

 

Beyond 2019/20, local government is very uncertain about the funding it will receive. This is due to the Whitehall departmental spending review, the review of the funding formula which governs what each individual council receives in funding and the future distribution of business rates.

 

HIGHWAYS 

The resurfacing of Shipton Road is evidence of the additional funding that cabinet agreed in the summer along with the additional £7.4 million from central government. As part of the budget process we are working on the Highways capital work programme for the coming year, I am putting forward several roads across the division that are in need of structural repairs. These must be assessed alongside the network of almost 3,000 miles of road. A range of different methods of road repair and sealing are used to extend the life of our roads and reduce the likelihood of potholes forming which include resurfacing, patching, Dragon patching and surface dressing.

 

While the larger scale work is all done – meaning a total of more than 322,000 square metres of road has been improved –smaller patching and resurfacing projects are still being done all around the county.

 

WASTE 

Oxfordshire County Council has welcomed the government’s new Waste and Resources Strategy for England, describing it as “ambitious”, with the potential to “transform the way that waste is viewed and managed.”

 

Importantly, the strategy is based on the ‘polluter pays’ principal so that producers rather than councils will meet the costs of collection, recycling and disposal of specific materials. This will hopefully incentivise producers and manufactures to design their product and packaging to be more easily recycled.

 

Oxfordshire is the best recycling county in England, meaning we’re well placed to help deliver the goals of this strategy. The current rate of 57% is good but we can do more by working with our District colleagues to improve increase the amount we recycle across the county.

 

DELIVERING AN OLDER PEOPLE'S STRATEGY FOR OXFORDSHIRE 

Living longer and living better is the drive behind a new Older People’s Strategy for Oxfordshire.

The strategy sets out how OCC and Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group will deliver a positive future for the county’s older population. It was developed following feedback over a three-month period. Residents, health and charity organisations, professionals, businesses, the public sector and community groups were engaged in the strategy development so it could be grounded in what people tell us matters most to them. The strategy’s vision and priorities were specifically co-produced with a wide range of people whose work and lives it affects. The strategy will be used to inform the planning, commissioning and delivery of services across Oxfordshire and will be monitored by the Better Care Fund Joint Management Group reporting to the Health and Wellbeing Board. To read the strategy and have your say online visit here https://consult.oxfordshireccg.nhs.uk/consult.ti/OPLLLB/consultationHome or request a paper copy of the strategy by calling 01865 334638. The closing date for comments is Feb 1, 2019.

 

NORTH COTSWOLD LINE TASKFORCE 

I continue to work on improving the Cotswold line as part of the Taskforce which is a group of councils along with Network Rail and First Great Western. The ambition is to have 2 trains an hour to Oxford and London along with improved connections to the station.

 

 

Cllr Ian Hudspeth

07956270 318

Ian.hudspeth@oxfordshire.gov.uk