Oxford

Oxfordshire County Council passes budget with £20m cuts

Council chamber
Image caption Councillors spent most of the day from 10:00 GMT discussing the budget for 2015/16

A "cutting budget" has been passed by councillors to decide spending in Oxfordshire for the next year.

Councillors at Oxfordshire County Council approved the budget after hours of discussions at a full council meeting.

The budget includes £20m worth of cuts and a council tax increase of 1.99%.

An increase in members' allowances was voted through, at a cost of £160,000. The 63 councillors will be entitled to claim £10,000, up from £8,376.

The leader of the council would be entitled to £29,000, up from £25,131. It is up to the individual members whether they accept the rise.

Conservative leader Ian Hudspeth said: "I suspect this is a budget that no group would really want to put through as it's a cutting budget."

He said the increase in council tax, the maximum allowed by the government before a local referendum would need to be held, would allow the council to put money back in to reserves.

'Added pressures'

According to the council, by 2018 the money received from central government will have reduced by 40% since 2010.

The council began reducing the budget in 2010 and three years later was asked to find another £64m in savings.

Mr Hudspeth said: "By the end of this year we will have achieved £204m of savings.

"With the added pressures from adult and children's services this takes the total savings from £265m to £292m."

Adult and children's social care accounts for 47% of the budget and cuts are to hit this department the hardest, with a £9m reduction.

Care for disabled people, children's centres and subsidised transport will also feel the effects of a reduction in spending.

The cost of car parking permits is to rise from £10 to £60 a year.

As previously announced, the position of CEO at the council is to be scrapped and overall staff levels have been reduced by 30%.

In total just over half of the council's funds come from council tax and a rise means Band D would stand at £1,232.46.

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