Oxford

Oxfordshire county councillors back £119m of savings

Oxfordshire councillors have voted through plans to save £119m over the next four years with £55m worth of savings this year.

Adult social care will be cut by £37m, while savings of £4m will have to be found in youth services which will see some centres closed.

Twenty of the 43 county council-run libraries are also set to be closed.

But some services could be saved after the authority announced an unexpected £2.2m boost to its budget last week.

The county council said its government settlement has been set £900,000 higher than the initial assessment in December while most of the remaining extra money has come from higher than expected returns from council tax collections.

'Balance cuts'

About £1.6m will be spent on youth services and could delay the closure of some centres while other cuts, like library closures, could be reviewed.

The proposed 1,000 job losses before 2015 across the whole council has previously been announced.

The budget, which was agreed on Tuesday night, will also see half of the county's street lights turned off between 0030 and 0530 GMT and several recycling centres closed.

Councillor Keith Mitchell, leader of the Conservative-led council, said the cuts were "fair" and added services, like adult social care, with the biggest budgets, had seen the biggest savings.

"We had to make £55m [for this year] worth of cuts and that's because the country is pretty broke," Mr Mitchell added.

"We've tried to balance the cuts as fairly as we can.

"This isn't the end of the story, we have to listen to people who use our services, take on board their views and that will influence the way in which the cuts are delivered."

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