SODC Leader Writes to Housing Minster and Chancellor of Exchequer

South Oxfordshire District Council Leader, Sue Cooper has written to the Minister for Housing Communities and Local Government regarding the planning system and the Chancellor about the plight of small, medium-sized enterprises and micro-businesses during the Covid-19 crisis in the District and getting more support for them.

In the letter to the Minster for Housing, she wrote…

“I am writing to draw your attention to issues that are facing us in administering the planning system during the coronavirus pandemic.  I appreciate that you and Cabinet colleagues are keeping the position under view and I would appreciate you feeding my concerns into those discussions.  I would like to make the case for relaxing determination target dates and the requirement to maintain 5 year housing land supply for a short period, while local authorities are rightly moving significant staff resource to work on supporting residents through the Covid emergency.

Our planning system remains operational.  Many planning applications are already determined by officer delegation, but our planning department is currently under pressure as we have had to redeploy staff to our coronavirus Community Support Hub, working with county, NHS and police partners.  It would not be a surprise if our excellent record on meeting determination target slips while we have fewer staff available in our planning and legal teams.”

Read the full letter here.

In the letter to the Chancellor of Exchequer she wrote…

South Oxfordshire District Council has already targeted significant staff resource at promoting and ensuring implementation of the business rate support schemes, on offering advice to businesses across the district to support our communities, and in ensuring accurate information is available to those who need it.

In South Oxfordshire and our neighbouring district Vale of the White Horse, there are around 20,000 businesses, of which only around 4,500 are eligible business rates payers, leaving over 15,000 businesses in need of more support. A large proportion of these are small and micro businesses.

There are many owner-managed businesses in the UK who own and operate under a Limited Company who have lost all their income and are due nothing – unlike the self-employed and PAYE employees – in a wide range of sectors, from electricians to events.

Read the full letter here