School and road projects face delays

Council bosses are warning big school and road building projects in Oxfordshire could have to be delayed for 15 years because of the UK's debt crisis.

Oxfordshire County Council have announced a review, to work out which projects are most important.  It's because of fears there are going to be cuts in the money they get from the government to pay for these kind of projects.

The Council had planned to spend £500m over the next five years on scores of possible projects using its own cash, money from developers and grants from central government.  The Council say schemes that are already underway will continue.

Keith Mitchell, the Leader of Oxfordshire County Council, (pictured) said: "It is very likely that a large part of cuts in Government funding will come in the form of withdrawal of grants to pay for capital building work. In an ideal world none of this would be necessary. However the new Government took on £900bn worth of national debt and has the difficult task of making inroads in to that.

"The consequence for us at the local level is that we have to look at every job and scheme and decide which should be given priority and which we may no longer take forward in the next five years. We won't make those decisions until later in the year, when we have far more detail about the precise shape and size of Government funding. However it is only fair to tell people now that we are once again forward planning responsibly and taking a fresh look at every scheme."

Oxfordshire County Council has already announced plans to make more than £100m of cuts by 2015.  They hope to reinvest two thirds of that back into services - redeploying cash into areas where needs are growing, like care for the elderly.

Around 500 jobs are expected to be lost as a result of this, but the County Council hope most of these losses will be through natural staff turnover, without the need for widespread redundancies.

Listen to our interview with Keith Mitchell

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