County faces £50m more cuts after Government grant reduced

OXFORDSHIRE residents are facing two more years of misery because the county council has to make an extra £50m of cuts.

In 2011 the local authority announced a four-year £119m savings plan that would finish in 2015.

Now those measures will have to be extended until 2017, to cope with further Government funding cuts announced earlier this month. It brings the grand total of cuts needed to £169m. Of that, £92m has already been accounted for, which leaves £77m to be spread out over four years.

The announcement once again brings the threat of major service and job cuts for the authority, which deals with areas including transport, education and adult care.

The council announced in December 2010 it expected to make 1,000 redundancies over the course of the savings, but that was when it was only spread over four years.

Council leader Ian Hudspeth refused to rule out redundancies, with opposition councillors already warning the cuts will hit the poorest hardest.

Mr Hudspeth, above, said: “We have had a difficult time in making cuts to date and there are more difficult times ahead, there is no getting away from that.

“In the New Year we will propose a budget and that will make clear how we will make our savings.

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“Our focus will be on protecting as far as we can the most important services while providing value for money in tough times.”

He said savings would have to be found across all departments, and job losses could not be ruled out.

He said: “We’re going to look at all the budgets and try to protect frontline services.

“We would obviously always try to avoid redundancies but we can’t rule anything in or out at this stage.”

The original £119m savings programme included funding cuts for libraries. Initially it announced closures, but later U-turned to save the facilities but instead staff them with volunteers.

The council handed control of its Redbridge, Seacourt and Pear Tree park-and-ride sites to the city council, saving cash, and the city council started charging for parking.

By scrapping its seven-day target for mending potholes and through other measures, the county council also saved £13m from its road maintenance budget.

Initial plans to save £4.2m by closing youth centres were scrapped, but redundancies in the youth service were still made.

Labour group leader Liz Brighouse said cuts would have had to be massive even if the Government grant hadn’t diminished by 11 per cent.

She said: “It’s absolutely disgraceful that central Government is carrying on borrowing more money and at the same time local Government is being forced to make cuts which affect the most vulnerable people.

“The debt isn’t being brought down, we’re forcing more people out of work and on to the dole. It’s scandalous.”

Unison regional organiser Steve Waite said he was stunned by the scale of the cut in Government support for the council.

He said: “We regret any further cuts to services, but we recognise the pressure Oxfordshire County Council is under.

“These draconian cuts will probably result in local councils changing permanently from what we have been used to, that’s how big this is going to be.

“From a Unison perspective, we will have dialogue with the council in the New Year and we will work with them to try to mitigate the impact on our members and on the public.”

The Liberal Democrats were not available for comment.

Comments (11)

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9:22am Mon 31 Dec 12

xjohnx says...

The council doesn't have to make the cuts, they can just raise local taxes and fees.

What they can't have is money from the national tax revenues.

Where is this two years of misery coming from? Or is that just jurno speak to stir people up?
The council doesn't have to make the cuts, they can just raise local taxes and fees. What they can't have is money from the national tax revenues. Where is this two years of misery coming from? Or is that just jurno speak to stir people up? xjohnx
  • Score: 0

9:23am Mon 31 Dec 12

Sandy Wimpole-Smythe says...

Can somebody please explain why when borrowing is up and spending has been cut to the bone already exactly WHAT are the people in charge doing with OUR money ? It's certainly not being used to pay off the nations debt as this too has increased.
Can somebody please explain why when borrowing is up and spending has been cut to the bone already exactly WHAT are the people in charge doing with OUR money ? It's certainly not being used to pay off the nations debt as this too has increased. Sandy Wimpole-Smythe
  • Score: 0

9:28am Mon 31 Dec 12

Sandy Wimpole-Smythe says...

xjohnx wrote:
The council doesn't have to make the cuts, they can just raise local taxes and fees.

What they can't have is money from the national tax revenues.

Where is this two years of misery coming from? Or is that just jurno speak to stir people up?
As is, and always has been the Tory way the two years of misery will be aimed at the elderly, the disabled and the vulnerable in society i.e the people who need the help and support of the rest of us.
[quote][p][bold]xjohnx[/bold] wrote: The council doesn't have to make the cuts, they can just raise local taxes and fees. What they can't have is money from the national tax revenues. Where is this two years of misery coming from? Or is that just jurno speak to stir people up?[/p][/quote]As is, and always has been the Tory way the two years of misery will be aimed at the elderly, the disabled and the vulnerable in society i.e the people who need the help and support of the rest of us. Sandy Wimpole-Smythe
  • Score: 0

9:32am Mon 31 Dec 12

DoctorBob says...

And so, the Tory wet dream of cutting the public sector to the bone and serving it up to their chums in the private sector goes on unabated. It's disgraceful and will change the landscape forever.
And so, the Tory wet dream of cutting the public sector to the bone and serving it up to their chums in the private sector goes on unabated. It's disgraceful and will change the landscape forever. DoctorBob
  • Score: 0

12:23pm Mon 31 Dec 12

Andrew:Oxford says...

Sandy Wimpole-Smythe wrote:
xjohnx wrote:
The council doesn't have to make the cuts, they can just raise local taxes and fees.

What they can't have is money from the national tax revenues.

Where is this two years of misery coming from? Or is that just jurno speak to stir people up?
As is, and always has been the Tory way the two years of misery will be aimed at the elderly, the disabled and the vulnerable in society i.e the people who need the help and support of the rest of us.
The council tax invoice is only the minimum you have to pay.

If you feel that you can help by paying more for local services, then the Oxfordshire County or Oxford City councils aren't going to turn the money away!

Or organise something yourself. Create a charity "Oxford Philanthropists" a society for the wealthiest of Oxford to improve the city and the residents who live here - minimum annual membership fee £10,000.
[quote][p][bold]Sandy Wimpole-Smythe[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]xjohnx[/bold] wrote: The council doesn't have to make the cuts, they can just raise local taxes and fees. What they can't have is money from the national tax revenues. Where is this two years of misery coming from? Or is that just jurno speak to stir people up?[/p][/quote]As is, and always has been the Tory way the two years of misery will be aimed at the elderly, the disabled and the vulnerable in society i.e the people who need the help and support of the rest of us.[/p][/quote]The council tax invoice is only the minimum you have to pay. If you feel that you can help by paying more for local services, then the Oxfordshire County or Oxford City councils aren't going to turn the money away! Or organise something yourself. Create a charity "Oxford Philanthropists" a society for the wealthiest of Oxford to improve the city and the residents who live here - minimum annual membership fee £10,000. Andrew:Oxford
  • Score: 0

1:19pm Mon 31 Dec 12

cb1917 says...

And the response from the Labour Party??
Likely to be about making the cuts more gently and slowly ... but still cuts.

Instead, let's get organised in 2013.

"They say cutback ... we say fightback!"
And the response from the Labour Party?? Likely to be about making the cuts more gently and slowly ... but still cuts. Instead, let's get organised in 2013. "They say cutback ... we say fightback!" cb1917
  • Score: 0

1:23pm Mon 31 Dec 12

Andrew:Oxford says...

cb1917 wrote:
And the response from the Labour Party??
Likely to be about making the cuts more gently and slowly ... but still cuts.

Instead, let's get organised in 2013.

"They say cutback ... we say fightback!"
Fightback by voluntarily donating money to the local authority to protect the vulnerable?
[quote][p][bold]cb1917[/bold] wrote: And the response from the Labour Party?? Likely to be about making the cuts more gently and slowly ... but still cuts. Instead, let's get organised in 2013. "They say cutback ... we say fightback!"[/p][/quote]Fightback by voluntarily donating money to the local authority to protect the vulnerable? Andrew:Oxford
  • Score: 0

1:53pm Mon 31 Dec 12

oafie says...

What about the council's reserves?

Why not chop 10% off the salaries of those earning over £36,000?

Charge those using the Public Sex Environments on the A40 (OX33) for parking, littering and using the toilets...good god it would bring in a fortune!

Don't forget the poor who are not lucky enough to have social housing will soon be forced out of the county and then Oxon and can just have all the rich bods who will just have to spend more of their money, they won't give a hoot about higher taxes.
What about the council's reserves? Why not chop 10% off the salaries of those earning over £36,000? Charge those using the Public Sex Environments on the A40 (OX33) for parking, littering and using the toilets...good god it would bring in a fortune! Don't forget the poor who are not lucky enough to have social housing will soon be forced out of the county and then Oxon and can just have all the rich bods who will just have to spend more of their money, they won't give a hoot about higher taxes. oafie
  • Score: 0

6:55pm Mon 31 Dec 12

DoctorBob says...

fredford wrote:
How about we stop clearing the gippo sites of their own accumulated rubbish,also we could stop building the nice amenities i can see springing up at Redbridge Hollow.......just a start,it wouldnt affect the law abiding people of Oxfordshire who actually PAY something towards it.
How about we stop clearing the self accumulated rubbish from people in your street or from town after the weekend or road verges or seaside towns after bank holidays?

How about we stop providing 'nice' amenities like gas, water, drainage, electricity, running water to people like you?

How, in your infinitesimally small imagination, did you ever think that what you complain of would even make a dent in 50 million quid?

Imagination and scale aren't really your forte are they?
[quote][p][bold]fredford[/bold] wrote: How about we stop clearing the gippo sites of their own accumulated rubbish,also we could stop building the nice amenities i can see springing up at Redbridge Hollow.......just a start,it wouldnt affect the law abiding people of Oxfordshire who actually PAY something towards it.[/p][/quote]How about we stop clearing the self accumulated rubbish from people in your street or from town after the weekend or road verges or seaside towns after bank holidays? How about we stop providing 'nice' amenities like gas, water, drainage, electricity, running water to people like you? How, in your infinitesimally small imagination, did you ever think that what you complain of would even make a dent in 50 million quid? Imagination and scale aren't really your forte are they? DoctorBob
  • Score: 0

6:57pm Mon 31 Dec 12

DoctorBob says...

It was so good I said it twice. :)
It was so good I said it twice. :) DoctorBob
  • Score: 0

7:36pm Mon 31 Dec 12

DoctorBob says...

Let's hear what Mr Hudspeth thinks about his party's all out assault on local government?

If any of them had a shred of decency they would all resign as it's blatantly obvious their party is going to destroy everything that they have the money to go elsewhere for.

Come on you one nation Tories, stand up to these elite self serving bullies.

The hateful Pickles says the answer is renting out art work, I mean, for Christ's sake!
Let's hear what Mr Hudspeth thinks about his party's all out assault on local government? If any of them had a shred of decency they would all resign as it's blatantly obvious their party is going to destroy everything that they have the money to go elsewhere for. Come on you one nation Tories, stand up to these elite self serving bullies. The hateful Pickles says the answer is renting out art work, I mean, for Christ's sake! DoctorBob
  • Score: 0

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