'Big Debate' on council budget cuts

Council leaders want you to tell them how to save £200m over the next five years.

Oxfordshire County Council's set up five public meetings throughout September so everyone can get put their ideas forward.

Since Chancellor George Osborne said in his June 22 budget that most Government departments will have to make cuts of 25 per cent between 2011 and 2015, Oxfordshire County Council's working on the basis of more than £200m worth of cuts will be necessary over the next five years.

This figure might change later this year as more adjustments are made to budgets.

Oxfordshire County Council provides 80 per cent of local council services including schools and education, the youth service, the youth offending service, children's social care, adult social care, libraries, museums, archives, highways, the Countryside Service, waste disposal, some elements of planning, the Fire and Rescue Service, emergency planning, trading standards and the Registration Service.

It gets around two-thirds of its funding from central Government.

When can I have my say in the 'Big Debate'?

Five public meetings will take place in the county during September.

•       7 September, 7:30pm – 9:00pm, County Hall, Oxford
•       16 September, 7:30pm – 9:00pm, Cornerstone Arts Centre, Didcot
•       21 September, 7:30pm – 9:00pm, Langdale Hall, Witney
•       29 September, 7:30pm – 9:00pm, Town Hall, Banbury
•       30 September, 7:30pm – 9:00pm, Abbey Hall, Abingdon

Or you can submit your comments online here.

 Councillor Keith Mitchell, the Leader of Oxfordshire County Council, said:

"None of us are under any illusions about the stark nature of the choices that face us here. We will have to cut back significantly if not completely on some of our services. The level of change will be unprecedented. 

"It is important that we factor in the views of Oxfordshire residents when making these incredibly tough choices. Constructive and innovative ideas are very welcome."

"We have a short time frame before we start to consider our budgets for April 2011 onwards. By October we will know more about the specific detail of cuts to local government and then in the very last part of 2011 we will hear specific detail as it relates to Oxfordshire County Council.

"All of those things will go in to the melting pot in deciding the shape of services from 2011 onwards and the views of residents will be an important part.

"We would very much like to see and hear from people at our public meetings. We're all in this together, councillors, council officers and the general public - and that's across the country, not just in Oxfordshire.

"If you can't attend a meeting please have your say at our website."