OXFORD City Council is showing true civic leadership with its protection — and indeed increase — of budgets for services helping those in debt.

The council, like every other public organisation, is having to make deep and unpopular cuts.

Its grants to other organisations are not being spared, but the council has refused to just randomly hack away with its financial scythe at anything and everything.

It recognises that in this difficult time more and more people will suffer and need financial help.

The debt services around the city do invaluable work and if the council abandoned these groups then it would be effectively be guilty of making the lives of many families worse.

Arts groups may look at their reductions and cry foul.

But the cuts have to fall somewhere.

We will not argue that arts organisations add to the cultural fabric and community spirit of Oxford but it would be deeply irresponsible to protect them while causing real pain and anguish to real people.

And if anyone doubts the council’s decision, yesterday’s figures showing a contraction of the economy proves it was a wise course.