Next week voters in the Banbury Guardian region will be marching to the ballot box for the first of two elections within a month.
The parties standing in the Oxfordshire County Council elections have started setting out their stalls ahead of next Thursday’s local elections.
Protecting the Horton Hospital, council budget cuts to children services and adult day services, and the unitary authority debate are some of the issues parties have been campaigning on.
All 63 county council seats are up for election and polling stations will be open from 7am to 10pm. The party statements are:
“Banbury Conservatives are working towards a positive future for our town. We are committed to defending the Horton and will work cross-party to fight for the retention of vital services at our much-needed hospital.
“Thanks to the Conservatives, Banbury has a thriving economy with unemployment under one per cent.
“Castle Quay II will rejuvenate Banbury’s canal district with the new cinema and town centre supermarket boosting our historic town centre.
“We are helping people achieve their dream of home ownership and through the Build! project are providing secure, low-cost homes for rent or purchase.
“Conservative-led Oxfordshire County Council is one of the few councils in the UK rated ‘good’ for both children’s services and adult social care.
“We remain committed to safeguarding care for those most in need. Our children deserve the best education possible. As well as good schools, we will promote apprenticeships to retain the skills our town needs.
“A vote for your Conservative candidate on Thursday, May 4 will ensure a brighter future for Banbury.”
Joe Walsh, Labour’s candidate in Calthorpe said: “We will fight every inch of the way to retain vital services at the Horton.
“Under the Conservatives nationally, the number of people waiting four hours or more in A&E is now six times higher, £5 billion has been cut from the social care budget and £21 billion is wasted on agency staff. Banbury needs more health services not less.
Hannah Banfield, Labour’s candidate in Grimsbury & Castle, said: “The current Conservative council is unable to meet the needs and demands of the citizens of Oxfordshire because of government cuts. In 2016, the county’s budget was reduced by £69 million on top of the £292 million that had already been taken – something that even David Cameron’s own mother objected to!”
Mark Cherry, candidate for Ruscote said: “We will continue to hold the Conservatives to account – we have saved many of our local children’s centres for now, ensured Oxfordshire is grammar school-free, have secured the prioritisation of a Southern link road for Banbury, and stopped the premature closure of day services for older people and those with learning disabilities, giving assurances that no one would lose a service.”
Sarah Haydon, Labour’s candidate in Bicester Town said: “Bicester is experiencing enormous change but proposed and actual cuts imposed by the Conservative and Independent Alliance mean that while Bicester’s population is exploding, basic services are not keeping pace. Our community deserves better. If elected, my priorities will include the protection of adult day centres and provision for under fives.”
Oxfordshire Green Party is fielding 55 candidates in the county elections.
Councillor David Williams, leader of the Green Group on the county council, said: “Oxfordshire’s Green county councillors have a proud record of presenting green initiatives to improve the quality of people’s lives and fighting to defend the existing services from the savage cuts imposed upon them.
“Year after year, the Greens present an alternative, full-costed county budget that tries to stop the massive cuts to services for the most vulnerable people.
“Children, the sick, the homeless, those with disabilities and especially the elderly are the targets for these vicious cuts.
“Unlike Labour and Lib Dems we refuse to vote with the Conservatives to introduce these cuts. We have shown that a referendum on council tax would allow people to decide the level of spending, to keep key services if they wish.
“Electing more Green county councillors will help with this work.
“We will fight the One Oxfordshire proposals as fundamentally undemocratic.
“We would keep the city as a single unitary and have unitaries to the north and the south.
“That would balance efficiency and local democracy.
“Our manifesto outlines a Green future for the county, rebuilding our services when the decade of cuts is brought to an end. See our manifesto at www.greenoxfordshire.com/policy.
“For example, we would seek:
> Homes that people really can afford, without losing our countryside
> Protection and improvement of public services and community facilities
> Development of better transport options which serve our needs whilst reducing traffic congestion and pollution
> A greener Oxfordshire economy and a sustainable future giving value to all.”
“People see a lack of democracy and connection with the three old parties.
“UKIP bring a breath of fresh air into local politics and offer the electorate a real alternative to the old status quo.
“In UKIP our candidates come from different walks of life and really understand the communities they wish to represent.
“Importantly a UKIP candidate is not under a party whip like the old parties are, just look at the deselections if they don’t tow the line.
“UKIP candidates are encouraged to represent the people not the Party.
“UKIP will give the people and communities what they deserve, more power for local people and local communities and more say over what happens in your street, village and Town.
“We offer direct democracy and the empowerment of the people who elect us.
“We have all seen council budgets hit hard by a decrease in central government funding as the national government prioritise spending elsewhere, this needs an urgent review now or we face ever higher council tax bills.
“Get in contact with your local candidate and tell them your concerns, if elected your UKIP candidate will act for YOU.
“You can be confident that if you vote UKIP you will get a voice!”
No statement had been received at time of going to press.