COUNCIL tax will rise by the highest possible amount next year and the county will need to find a further £21m worth of savings.

Oxfordshire County Council said 'difficult' decisions to make cuts to services such as children's centres in previous years meant it was in a more resilient position as it revealed its draft budget for 2018/19 to 2022.

The 4.99 per cent rise would see residents in Band D properties pay an extra £67 a year - three per cent of that rise will go straight into adult social care.

Council leader Ian Hudspeth said: "I think people understood there was a direct link between the rise and additional funding for adult social care.

"It has to go into adult social care and we have to show central Government where it will be and then has been spent."

He added: "Having made difficult decisions in previous years we are in a more financially resilient position and better placed to help support a thriving local economy and deliver value for money."

Since austerity began in 2010 to the end of the current four-year financial plan in 2022 Oxfordshire County Council will have found savings of £398m.

Yesterday it added 2021-22 to that timeframe and announced further savings of £21m were needed due to financial pressures.

Children's Services will need to plug a gap of around £9m due to population growth and increases in the number of children in care.

But a new strategy to reduce children in care and give families support at an earlier stage is planned to balance out the saving.

Further pressures on adult social care mean more than £10m needs to be found elsewhere.

But a number of improvements are planned - a previously set cut of £1.97m to the highways maintenance team and for grass verge cutting has been reversed.

Mr Hudspeth said: "A couple of years ago 34 per cent of all calls to the highways teams were about cutting grass.

"We are the second most rural county in southern England and it's an important area particular when it comes to visibility splays."

This extra expenditure will be offset by a number of savings including new street lighting shaving £1.5m off the council's energy bills and new IT delivery partnerships saving a further £2.4m.

He added: "All areas are difficult to make savings in and it's always going to affect somebody.

"We have been working to make sure we are fair across Oxfordshire."

To comment on the consultation - until January 8 - go to

It will be discussed by performance scrutiny committee on December 14.