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County council budget
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- Central government has told Oxfordshire County Council to cut its budget by £61m over the next four years.
- The council has found savings of £64m in its budget which will be discussed by its cabinet at 2pm today.
- This includes a controversial £1.5m cut in homelessness services and cuts in support for charities, theatres and advice centres.
Council budget has been agreed.
David Nimmo Smith, cabinet member for transport, has asked the public to "bear with us" as they attempt to deal with the road network on less money.
Melinda Tilley, cabinet member for education, said: "each cabinet member is fighting their corner for what they think is important and for me that is safeguarding children and it doesn't come cheap."
Rodney Rose, the council's deputy leader, said: "anybody who wants one of their savings stopped has to identify where the money comes from because I don't know"
Council leader Ian Hudspeth says the council has a "difficult level of uncertainty" because the government may lower the limit on increasing council tax - currently two per cent. A local referendum would have to be held if a higher increase is wanted.
David Dodds, of Oxfordshire Waste Partnership, has urged the county council not to withdraw funding from it as it "does not add up".
Mr Fatemian says there is an increasing demand on adult social services, creating a "double whammy".
He says the council's government funding will have gone down by £90m since 2010\11 and says "there are no longer any easy savings"
"For every pound that we don't save somewhere we have to raise that pound or save it somewhere else," he said.
Arash Fatemian, the cabinet member for finance, begins introducing the budget and praises the "levels of dedication and strength of feeling" among the protesters.
Susy Drohan of Oxfordshire Welfare Rights tells the cabinet: "it is absolutely vital that the council remains committed to the fact that people in Oxfordshire remain advised of their rights"
Emily Houghton says she is "disgusted" that the council is considering cutting funding for advice centres.
Kevin Kennedy tells the cabinet homeless people "come from different backgrounds but all have the same support needs"
Labour county councillor Nick Hards tells the cabinet the most vulnerable - such as the homeless - need to be protected.
She has told the cabinet one in 10 people become homeless at some point in their lives and the funding is needed to help people out of homelessness.
Lesley Dewhurst of Oxford Homeless Pathway tells the cabinet why it should not cut funding for homelessness. The audience applauds as she finishes.
David Hipkiss is urging the cabinet not to go ahead with its changes to home to school transport as he present a petition with more than 4,000 signatures. This issue to be considered by the cabinet next week.
The meeting is starting with questions from county councillors. Zoe Patrick has asked about free infant school meals while Glynis Phillips is asking about public health contracts.
Council leader Ian Hudspeth is starting the meeting - though he has to sort it the microphone feedback first.
Protesters are gathering outside County Hall in Oxford to demonstrate against Oxfordshire County Council's planned cuts to homelessness services and advice centres.
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