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Leaders Statement – 8 December 2022

I have recently issued a new scheme of delegation showing changes to the cabinet. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Cllr Leigh Rawlins for his service over the last three and a half years, firstly as Cabinet Member for planning and then as member for finance. This portfolio will now be taken on by Cllr Pieter-Paul Barker who will be leading us through the budgeting process. I would like to welcome to the cabinet Cllr Kate Gregory who will take on responsibility for Legal and Democratic Services.

At last week’s cabinet meeting we considered a paper on the consequences of the cessation of work on Oxfordshire Plan 2050 and approved an updated Local Development Scheme which shows the pathway towards producing a Joint Local Plan with the Vale of White Horse.

It has been a busy period for correspondence, and I would remind members that my correspondence as leader is published on the website.

Following a motion at the last council meeting I wrote to the Leader of Vale of White Horse concerning the boundary between the two districts. She has responded to say that “the creation of a new parish east of Harwell, I do not feel it appropriate to ask officers to start work on such a report this side of May 2023, especially as the views of the new Parish, which will hold its first elections in May, could be a material factor in any consideration.”

Along with other council leaders in Oxfordshire I have received a letter from the minister confirming the government’s intention to pay the final £30m of the Growth Deal funding. I have circulated this letter to councillors.

As usual, much of our most important work goes on behind the scenes and we continue to commit lots of resources, and especially staff time, towards supporting our most vulnerable residents. Our website shows the range of support we are giving to help people through the Cost of Living Crisis which will become more acute as the weather gets colder. I would like to thank staff, but also councillors and the many community groups who are also supporting local people. I would particularly like to thank those residents who continue to host our Ukrainian guests.

As this is the last council meeting of the year I would like to take this opportunity to wish all councillors, staff and residents a happy Christmas.