TORY councillors are at loggerheads with Prime Minister David Cameron again after he waded into the row over £69m of cuts at Oxfordshire County Council.

The Conservative MP for Witney, right, yesterday claimed the local authority could be “more efficient”, sell property and put up council tax to avoid reductions to services.

Senior councillors have announced more savings they admit will be “brutal”, including scrapping mobile libraries and bus subsidies, and reducing funding for the arts, homeless, road gritting, elderly day services and support for carers.

But yesterday the Prime Minister said: “I understand it will be challenging for councils to make the further necessary savings but, as an Oxfordshire MP, I would urge Oxfordshire County Council to look again at its budget proposals.

“Councils must continue to reform the way they work to become more efficient, both in back office functions and in frontline service delivery. 

“The recent [government] spending review... made it possible for councils to sell property assets and use the capital to invest in transforming local services – and ensure further savings.”

The local authority had predicted a “worst-case scenario” of £51m of savings, until a new government funding formula meant it would have to find another £23m on top of this.

Mr Hudspeth said: “I understand Mr Cameron’s concerns. He is a local MP and his constituents are making representations to him. But we have to set a balanced budget.”