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COMMENT: Who needs enemies with a friend like Eric Pickles?
9:00am Thursday 31st October 2013 in News
ROLL up, roll up for Oxfordshire’s political slugging match of the year, with both combatants emerging from the blue corner.
County council leader Ian Hudspeth is clearly an admirer of local government minister Eric Pickles.
But judging by the heavyweight minister’s response to a plea for support from the county council over spending cuts, it is less than clear if that goes both ways.
Councillors had asked Pickles to come to Oxfordshire to justify the cuts they say the Government is forcing upon the area.
Pickles’ officials gave a blunt response to that one, telling Hudspeth and his council to take better care of their own affairs.
The nub of the row is the children’s centres that are facing the axe in the county, an issue which has caused considerable anger.
Pickles and his department have taken the view that there is no need to pop over to Oxford to explain anything to anyone.
Instead, he has decided to give Oxfordshire a lecture, via a spokesman, on why it needs to sort out its finances.
That response has understandably infuriated County Hall.
Hudspeth told the Oxford Mail recently that he was lobbying Pickles over the need for the autumn budget statement to be pushed forward to help him plan his finances for next year.
We suggest he does not hold his breath for a response.
They might belong to the same party, but it’s clear Pickles is going to leave his Oxfordshire colleagues to fend for themselves.
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