The county council has set its budget for the year following a mammoth 10-hour debate which was described by opponents as a "nasty mess".

Oxfordshire Liberal Democrat and Green Alliance councillors sided with the Labour party amendment over the Conservative one.

Passage of the budget saw a 4.99 per cent council tax rise which is the maximum increase allowed.

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Conservative councillors expressed their disappointment at the council's unwillingness to accept the party's amendment with leader Eddie Reeves saying the Liberal Democrats were being "Labour's useful idiots".

Herald Series: Eddie Reeves.Eddie Reeves. (Image: Oxfordshire County Council.)

Councillor David Bartholomew added: "what an utter, utter waste of time it has been today.

"We are going to be voting against this nasty, nasty mess."

The new budget incorporates a real time increase in spending for special educational needs (SEND) by 10 per cent.

This comes after an Ofsted and Quality Care Commission report in September found "widespread and systemic failings" in the county's SEND provision.

The Labour amendment includes additional funding for the fixing of potholes as well as the introduction of four new controlled parking zones.

Herald Series: Controlled parking zones.Controlled parking zones.

Conservative opposition councillors had called for the delaying of traffic measures, reduction of climate measures, and also placed increased emphasis on road maintenance.

Mr Reeves said: "The residents out there want us to do the basics better.

"They want us to fix potholes and clear vegetation.

"No more money should be wasted on ideological tokenism."

He claimed the traffic measures added up to a "mind-boggling" £57 million.

"It's something voters should have a say on," the Banbury Calthorpe division county councillor said.

The county council's highways chief Andrew Gant replied: "I'm not quite sure what that means.

Herald Series: Andrew Gant.Andrew Gant. (Image: Ed Nix)

"You either want to do it or you don't want to do it."

Green councillor Dr Pete Sudbury described Conservative plans to reduce climate funding as "like smashing half the lifeboats on the titanic and calling it a rescue project".

Traffic measures introduced as part of the budget include expansion of the Zero Emission Zone (ZEZ), a workplace parking levy and bus gates.

Dr Sudbury said climate action was not some "woke joke".

Speaking after the meeting, councillor Michael O’Connor, Labour spokesman for Public Health and Inequalities, said: “Labour’s budget amendment will help tackle the Conservative cost of living crisis by restoring funding to our local advice centres."

Herald Series: Michael O'Connor.Michael O'Connor. (Image: Oxfordshire County Council.)

But the Oxford business action group claimed: "The joint decision by Labour, the Lib Dems and the Greens at the budget meeting to push ahead with the expanded Zero Emission Zone, the Workplace Parking Levy and customer parking charge increases has been hugely disappointing to Oxford’s small business community.

"We rely on customers being able to reach us from across the city and beyond and the expanded ZEZ and workplace parking levy will just make it harder for people to get to us."

The net budget for 2024/25 will be £611m.

A total of 37 councillors voted in favour of the amended spending plan while 18 abstained.