Page last updated at 21:32 GMT, Monday, 19 January 2009

County council staff may face axe

Jobs are at risk in councils across Oxfordshire as councils begin to add up their budgets for the coming year.

Three out of the county's six councils predict cuts of up to 64 jobs in total.

Oxford City Council said it was considering cutting 25 jobs, Vale of White Horse District Council 24 and 15 are at risk in South Oxfordshire.

There are currently no plans to cut jobs at Oxfordshire County Council, Cherwell District Council or West Oxfordshire District Council.

No decisions have yet been made and none will be made until after the consultation processes are completed
Oxford City Council

Liza Nicklin from Unison said: "We are concerned that councils are looking at the current financial climate as an excuse to make these cuts."

"The branch are holding an urgent meeting on Tuesday to start campaigning our members and engage in talks with management."

A spokesman for Oxford City Council, said: "The proposals currently being considered in the budget concern less than 25 posts.

"No decisions have yet been made and none will be made until after the consultation processes are completed in January.

The cuts being considered include management positions - six in the Vale of White Horse and four in South Oxfordshire.

The Vale and South Oxfordshire councils are also going to be sharing a chief executive and top management team to save money.

South Oxfordshire District Council said: "In common with other local authorities, we face significantly reduced income with continued pressure on expenditure, and it is necessary for us to reduce our costs.

'Tighten belts'

"We currently anticipate a total of three to seven redundancies in our environmental services, housing and human resources teams, with approximate annual savings of 133,000 as a result."

Oxfordshire County Council said: "Every council in England has found it very tough to set a budget for 2009/10. Had it not been for the predicted falls in inflation for the forthcoming financial year, the picture at Oxfordshire County Council could have been far more difficult.

The government said it recognised councils needed to "tighten their belts", but there could be "no excuse for cuts in services or excessive rises in council tax."

A Communities and Local Government spokesperson said: "There are pressures on councils with the economic downturn.

"To help them through this difficult time, we've put in place the first ever three-year settlement, giving them the flexibility and stability they need to manage their budgets effectively, with a 4.2% increase in funding next year."

However, government is also expecting councils to make 3% efficiency gains each year for the next three years - which means further cost cutting measures.

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