SIR – With best wishes to all your readers, here are some hopes for 2016.

It was with interest that I read Sir Barry Norton’s round-up of last year from the district council. As leader of the Labour Group I share his optimism for our area, but think it isn’t all about the district council itself. Oxfordshire County Council has had its funding slashed by the Conservative government.

You have reported that even the prime minister seems ignorant of the resulting damage to communities, given his public spat with Conservative county leader Ian Hudspeth. We all know that the state of our roads (deplorable), bus services (under threat), care for vulnerable people (in crisis), children’s centres (proposed for closure) are a result of government and not county choices.

Like most of my neighbours, I don’t care which council mends roads, or finances children’s centres, or organises care. It is time the councils worked together to provide what our communities need.

This year, along with my fellow Labour councillors, I will be renewing arguments for all our councils to operate as one: to maintain the roads and renew the A40, build new junctions for Witney and get lorries off Chipping Norton High Street, support improved bus services, build strong community care for children and vulnerable people, to build the homes we need, and grow our local economy so we have good local jobs not just longer commutes.

If the county can’t, the district and town and parish councils can pick up the slack (and, with local knowledge supported by county expertise, may be better and more efficient). If the Conservatives won’t step up, Labour councillors will always speak for local people, and remember that we represent our neighbours on the various councils, not the councils’ interests.

Duncan Enright (Cllr)
Labour Leader
West Oxfordshire District Council and Witney Town Council