Proposal to reduce councillors in South Oxfordshire

Cllr Ann Ducker Council leader, Ann Ducker wants to lose 40% of the councillors

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Residents in South Oxfordshire could have 18 fewer councillors if a proposal is approved.

The Leader of the Tory controlled District Council is calling for the 48 councillors to be reduced to around 30.

Their basic allowance is £2,900 a year so the changes could save more than £200,000 in a four-year election term.

Ann Ducker said: "We must not ignore the opportunity to save over £50,000 a year... when this will help us safeguard important public services."

The proposal will be put to a council meeting on 18 November.

If agreed, the council will ask the Local Government Boundary Commission for England to review the electoral boundaries.

The Liberal Democrat group leader, Councillor David Turner has said he was in favour of a reduction in the number of councillors.

But he is concerned that there remain enough members to effectively represent their constituencies and provide opposition scrutiny on committees.

"I would have thought, off the cuff, that a 40% reduction is rather excessive," he said.

'Nothing to do'

The leader of the Independents on the council, Ann Midwinter also agrees with the proposal.

"When I first joined the council there were 52 councillors, now there are 48. I think we could lose another 10 quite easily," she said.

"There are lots councillors that have nothing to do."

In Devon, Independent councillor Terry Snow made a similar proposal. But in October it was rejected by the council.

He said that he felt like he was asking "turkeys to vote for Christmas."

"The whole council is due for re-election soon so perhaps some of the councillors where thinking about their seats rather than the overall savings," he said.

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