Oxford

Oxford City Council budget review identifies £800,000

Several council services in Oxford will be saved after a review of the draft budget revealed surplus funds.

Councillor Ed Turner said the Labour-controlled authority had identified an extra £800,000, protecting 30 jobs.

But Liberal Democrat councillor Mark Mills said: "This is a concrete example that things aren't as bad as (the administration) has made out."

The extra money reduces to £9m the savings Oxford City Council needs to make over the next four years.

It has been put down to unexpected savings as a result of a government grant, investments performing better than expected and changes in the amount the council needs to put into its workers' pensions.

The money means that the 100 job cuts planned by the council will be reduced to 70.

Mr Turner said: "We were required to make horrendous cuts as a result of an appalling funding settlement from government.

"They are taking away one quarter of our grant in two years.

"In a handful of cases we've been able to pull back from some of the worst cuts."

Mr Mills disagreed: "The administration has been presenting the budget situation in very apocalyptic terms to portray the government to be a lot harsher and less concerned than it actually has been."

The budget will be voted on at a full council meeting on Monday 21 February.

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