A better future for Oxford: Transforming Oxford’s Economic Strategy

Dear XR member,

Oxford City Council is now consulting on Oxford’s Economic Strategy which closes on 19th
January. Oxford’s Economic Strategy and Delivery Plan will fundamentally affect the future
wellbeing of our city.

We are writing to you because we are very concerned about both the process and content
of this strategy: that it is neither inclusive nor fit for the future. It is fixated on growth,
reputation and power as ends in themselves. The OES Strategy suggests equal weight be
given to the 3 aims of Oxford’s Global, Inclusive and Net Zero economy, when in fact the
needs of people and the planet are secondary to the expansion of the University. Rather
than making inclusivity and the climate and biodiversity emergencies essential requirements
the plan focuses on spin off companies and tech parks with the creation of 24,000 new jobs
(confirmed at a OES workshop in December)

Oxford’s current problems as the 2nd most unequal city in the UK include the lack of
affordable housing for residents and key workers, overstretched infrastructure, illegal levels
of air and river pollution and the ongoing and irreversible erosion of loss of green spaces
within the city and surrounding green belt. Looking to the future, Oxford City Council’s
strategy is devoid of any plan for the truly urgent action necessary for resilience and
adaptation in the face of the climate and ecological emergencies.

Whilst we acknowledge that Oxford’s Universities have a leading role to play in research and
innovation, we think their relentless expansion has reached a tipping point.

Other places are bringing about transformational change in their economic approach using
new models to make the complex, holistic decisions required to meet everyone’s basic
needs whilst living within planetary boundaries.

Doughnut Economics: How can cities live in the doughnut?
Devon Doughnut
Amsterdam Circular 2020 – 2050 Strategy

We are promoting an alternative approach which balances the complexities of the differing
needs and aspirations of all the people living and working in Oxford in a way that is truly
sustainable for our future. The approach would involve Oxford’s diverse communities in this

Over the next 3 weeks before the OES consultation deadline we are:

  • seeking as wide a range of input as possible from residents, local groups and organizations in the city
  • running a workshop with the Doughnut Economics Lab on Wednesday 12th January at 7pm on zoom
  • promoting a city-wide response to the consultation as a starting point for a more balanced discussion

Please contact us at toesoxford@gmail.com to let us know
1. If you are interested in being involved
2. Whether you would like to attend the DE workshop on 12th January at 7pm
Please do circulate to any other individuals or groups who might be interested

Deborah Glass Woodin, Philippa O’Connor, Caroline Roaf, Evelyn Sanderson

Transforming Oxford’s Economic Strategy Group