What do you want to spend your money on?

At our Ward Focus meeting next Tuesday 18 October at the JR Hospital, we shall be asking your views on how your money should be spent.

Many ideas have come forward from previous Ward Focus meetings and from email correspondence, and we have started to give each idea an approximate ballpark costing to help us all make the final decision on Tuesday. There is still time for you to come up with last minute ideas until then – please email them to us in advance of the meeting

Here is the amount we have available to spend in Headington ward:

Ward Budget for Councillors from City Council: £1500 p.a.

David + Ruth = (£1500+£1500) = £3,000

Localities Budget from County Council: £100,000 p.a.

Allocation for 6 months: £50,000

Number of County divisions: 8

Allocation for Headington and Marston division = (£50,000 divided by 8 ) = £6,250

Headington and Marston division comprises 3 wards: Headington, Marston, HH & Northway

Allocation to Headington if divided equally = (£6,250 divided by 3 )  = £2,083.33

So the total spend overall = £5083.33 though our County Councillors need to agree what is spent from the Localities Budget.  We can make the money stretch further if we can negotiate match funding with other groups and organisations in Headington.

Ward spend ideas Oct 11

Spend item Approx Cost £ Notes
Ramp access to All Saints Church Hall 1200
Painting of lamp posts in Old Headington Already in process
More 20 MPH roundels painted on main roads and side roads. 75 Each
Grant towards heating system in All Saints Church This may be funded from alternative sources
Education for cyclists More details needed
Watering of small trees in London Road
Equipment for youth and community groups More details needed
Grit bins inc St Andrew’s Lane 450 Each
More bins 500 Each
Road sign for approach road to JR 1000 this may be funded from alternative sources
Christmas lights Funded by businesses, underwritten by HA
Community skip for bulky waste £123.72



3 cubic yards

10 cubic yards

12 cubic yards

Paint nos. on dustbins to save muddle in e.g. Horwood Close Could be done by Community Payback if there is a day’s work for 10 people!
Extra bollard in Beech Rd to stop parking abuse 450
Promo board for businesses/noticeboard in HCP 1000 City Works to do transparencies, businesses or match funding to provide graphics
Repair roof to shelter and improve pedestrian access to HCP 750
Improve lighting to BK Library
General road and pavement maintenance More details needed
Yellow boxes on roads 750 Per location, excludes Traffic Regulation Order costs
Spend item Approx Cost £ Notes
Illuminated speed sign to be shared on a rota basis across Headington. DIY traffic calming and speed indication devices 3000 Unipar are county suppliers. Another Ward also wants one
Maybe Business Headington needs some financial help to get properly up and running
Osler Rd bollards and signs 1000
Line painting 450 Min charge per visit for half days work
Re-locate notice board near Iceland, to inside edge of pavement. Surely only one side of the board is needed for display purposes, and the pavement space is needed! 450 Assume no underground obstructions
Meeting to instruct people on how the planning process operates, and review strengths and weaknesses of current format 0
London Rd cycle lane approx by Headington School to White Horse east-bound, then by bus stops near Dial House. Not clear at times what cyclists are meant to do. Signage More details needed
Monaco puddle In process
Improvements to Cuckoo Lane More details needed
Make the zebra near the Co-op more visible, either re-painting the lines on the road or making the beacons more visible. That zebra was a great idea, but there have been lots of near-misses 900 Outside the wardRepaint
London Rd cycle path between Bury Knowle surgery and Green Rd, east-bound:  increase the frequency of the cycle symbols. People joining part-way along are quite justified in not being aware there is a cycle path. 500 Outside the ward

European grants to third sector groups

The ESF Community Fund 2011-2013 has just been launched with grants of up to £12,000 available to third sector organisations in the South East who support the most disadvantaged individuals to access further learning opportunities or progress to employment.  People benefitting from these grants will be experiencing barriers to access services and will not be in paid work, or will be economically inactive.

Priority will be given to groups who work with:

  • Lone parents
  • Women
  • People with health/disability issues
  • Older people
  • People from ethnic minorities & diverse communities

There will be four rounds with the first application deadlines being Friday 28th October 2011.  The subsequent deadlines are: Friday 17th February 2012, Friday 24th August 2012 and Friday 11th January 2013.  All applications must be received by 12 noon.

All projects are to be completed by 30th September 2013.  The total grants pot for the Thames Valley over the four rounds is £278,000.

Please contact Hilary Burr at OCVA on 01865 251946 if you have any questions or seek help in filling in the application forms

Victory for Headington’s Save Our Cheque campaign!

The UK Payments Council today [Tuesday] announced that they are to reverse their decision to scrap cheques by 2018 and continue their use for as long as customers need them.

Ruth and David set up a Save Our Cheque petition earlier this year with the support of Headington residents

For small businesses, charities and sole traders cheques are a crucial form of payment and many were concerned that their removal would drive up their costs. For customers, especially the elderly, cheques are reliable, safe and not too technological.

Last year alone there were over one billion cheque transactions which shows just how widely used this form of payment still is.

Today’s announcement means that those who rely on cheque payments can now be sure of their future.

Saving the cheque is a Lib Dem victory for common sense!

Free bank shares scheme up for debate

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg says it’s time the public benefited from the bailout of the banks.

The Lib Dem Leader is backing a scheme that will give shares in the nationally owned RBS and Lloyds banks to every adult in the UK.

Mr Clegg has written to the Chancellor of the Exchequer to ask him to look at the shares plan which has been backed by several other senior politicians.
The blueprint to hand over shares to over 45million adults in the UK has been drawn up by a top city firm and was first launched by Lib Dem MP Stephen Williams in March.

The plans will ensure that the Treasury will get its money back from the banking bailout, but any profits will go directly to the 45million shareholders.

Mr Clegg added:

“The British people rightly feel let down by the past behaviour of the banks. With this plan they would own a piece of the banks, have a voice in how they were run and benefit from their future success.”

Go compare…..council tax across England

As part of the Coalition Government’s commitment to transparency, Ministers have  published new figures showing exactly who pays for local government services. A new council tax ‘heat map‘ shows how each resident in different parts of the country contributes in council tax, and how much they conversely receive in central government grant.

This new analysis makes it possible to compare how much councils get in formula grant and council tax per person in each area of the country. This analysis is another step towards de-mystifying the council finance system for residents.

The ten councils which contribute the most council tax per head (based on band D property) are all in London or the South:

  • Richmond upon Thames (£755 per head)
  • Chiltern (£734)
  • South Bucks (£734)
  • Elmbridge (£729)
  • East Dorset (£722)
  • West Dorset (£717)
  • Purbeck (£716)
  • Wealden (£716)
  • Mole Valley (£713)
  • Christchurch (£705)

There is another map on the site showing formula grant funding per head.

If (like Ruth) you wish there was a Plain English guide to all of this stuff on Local Government Finance, there is good news! Click here for details!

Missing? £20K for local projects

Those of you who attended the last Area Committee meeting will know that there was a £20K carry-forward sum left over from the last council year from the committee’s funding allocation for community projects in the North East area of the City, comprising Headington, Barton, Marston, Wood Farm, Northway and Quarry. At that time it was unclear how youth services and library services would continue next year. It was agreed that an application for the £20K to be carried forward for projects in this ring-fenced North-East area up until Christmas 2011 would be submitted.

The Corporate Management Team at the City Council (officers) has discussed carry-forward items and a  “Provisional outturn report for the year ended 31st March 2011” has made recommendations to the City Executive Board (councillors) to approve a list  of approved carry forward requests. Click here for details

We can’t find any mention of the £20K carry-forward for projects in our area in this report so we assume the council officers don’t think this is a priority.

Ruth will ask CEB to reconsider this officer-led decision at next week’s meeting.  Councillors Coulter, McManners and Lygo are members of CEB and are also members representing wards in the NE Area

Lib Dems delivering for Britain: Part 1. Your Money

Lib Dem Manifesto p.18

“We will increase the income tax threshold to £10,000”

In June’s emergency budget, we raised the tax threshold by £1,000, lifting 880,000 low earners out of tax completely. This will increase each year of the coalition government until it reaches £10,000, which will lift an additional 3 million people out of tax altogether

Lib Dem manifesto p.14

“We will tackle tax avoidance and evasion, with new powers for Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs”

In September, Danny Alexander announced a £900m crackdown on tax avoidance and evasion, expected to raise billions each year by 2014/15 from those who currently avoid paying their fair share of tax.

Lib Dem manifesto p.14

“We will tax capital gains at the same rates as income, so that all the money you make is taxed in the same way”

In June’s emergency budget we increased the rate of Capital Gains Tax to 28% for higher rate taxpayers while keeping it at 18% for basic rate taxpayers. This will raise an extra £1bn and end the disgraceful situation of bankers paying a lower rate of tax than their cleaners.

Lib Dem manifesto p.18

“We will immediately restore the link between the basic state pension and earnings. We will uprate the state pension annually by whichever is the higher of growth in earnings or 2.5%”

The link between pensions and earnings, scrapped by Margaret Thatcher, was restored in the Coalition’s first budget. The annual increase in the state pension will be protected by a ‘triple lock’ – the rise will be in line with earnings, prices, or a 2.5% increase, whichever is the greater.

Lib Dem manifesto p.17

“We will pay down the deficit by saying no to the like-for-like replacement of the Trident nuclear weapons system”

There will be no like-for-like replacement of Trident this Parliament.

Lib Dem manifesto p.16

“We will scrap ID cards”

We have scrapped the ID card programme.

Lib Dem manifesto p.18

“We will give people control over their pension by scrapping the rule that compels you to buy an annuity when you reach age 75”

The Government announced in the Emergency Budget that it will end the effective requirement to purchase an annuity by age 75 from April 2011.

Lib Dem manifesto p.18

“Meeting the government’s obligations towards Equitable Life policy-holders who have suffered loss. We will set up a swift, simple, transparent and fair payment scheme”

We have agreed a deal on Equitable Life which is fair to policy owners and the tax payer. This will finally bring an end to a terrible saga which Labour wouldn’t resolve.

Vince Cable wins Chancellors’ debate!

Vince Cable [Photo: LDD Pics]


The first ever TV debate between the three candidates to be the next Chancellor has seen Lib Dem Vince Cable win a clear victory. In a Channel 4 on-line poll carried out immediately after the debate, Vince out-polled both Alistair Darling and George Osborne.

The Channel 4 vote results place Vince Cable as clearly ahead of both the Labour and Conservative contenders:

  • 36% Vince Cable

  • 32% Alistair Darling

  • 32% George Osborne

BBC Commentator Nick Robinson said on the 10 o’clock news that “it was Vince Cable who generated the most applause.”

A separate Yougov / Channel 4 poll carried out on the eve of tonight’s “Ask The Chancellors” debate on asked voters of all parties which of the three men would be best for the job. 26 per cent picked Mr Cable, against 17 per cent for the Chancellor, Alistair Darling, with just 12 per cent opting for the Shadow Chancellor, George Osborne. You can read more here

The Guardian’s “Wiintour and Watt” blog said that “The consensus tonight, at Westminster and in the Twittersphere, is that ‘King Vince’ was the runaway winner of the first major televised debate of the general election campaign.”

You can watch Vince Cable‘s closing statement again online

You can join the Liberal Democrats at www.libdems.org.uk/join_us.aspx