The county’s chief fire officer has defended Oxfordshire County Council’s handling of cost-saving measures.

The Local Government Association, which represents all 46 of the UK’s fire services in England and Wales, yesterday said cuts to services were testing authorities “to the limit”.

It called on central government to make sure fire services were being funded properly.

But Oxfordshire’s chief fire officer David Etheridge said the county’s fire service remained one of the best in the UK and had done its best to protect services.

He said: “Since cuts began in 2010, Oxfordshire County Council has broadly protected budgets for fire and rescue and this continues to be the case.”