David Cameron has criticised cuts in his local constituency – despite Tory policies causing them.
The Prime Minister has labelled cuts to Oxfordshire County Council ‘unwelcome and counter-productive’.
Writing to Ian Hudspeth, leader of the authority, the PM expressed his disappointment at proposals to close elderly day care centres and libraries.
But the cuts to public services in Oxfordshire were brought about by Tory policies.
Hudspeth hit back at the PM, calling his correspondence ‘staggering’ and ‘inaccurate’.
In the letters, which were written back in September but revealed by the Oxford Mail this week, DavCam complained about impending cuts to frontline services.
Hudspeth explained to Cameron, who was apparently unaware that cuts to local authorities would have a major impact in reducing local services.
He wrote: ‘Excluding schools, our total government grants have fallen from £194m in 2009/10 to £122m a year in 2015/16, and are projected to keep falling at a similar rate.’
The council leader added that he couldn’t accept Cameron’s ‘description of a drop in funding of £72m or 37% as a “slight fall”.
Hudspeth also explained that it would be ‘neither legal, nor sustainable in the long-term to sell off council property, as the PM had suggested.
A spokesperson for Cameron said: ‘here is still significant scope for sensible savings across local government to be made by local public services; we will be discussing with Oxfordshire how this can be taken forward to help protect frontline services.’
County council Labour group leader, Liz Brighthouse said: ‘This letter is high-handed and arrogant and shows clearly that David Cameron does not understand Oxfordshire’s finances.
‘Our budget is being spent on the most vulnerable people. But Mr Cameron has not bothered to speak to anyone here and has just relied on his people in Whitehall to tell him what is going on.’
The Guardian published the full exchange online: