BRADFORD Council's budget for the next year, which will include millions of pounds of cuts to public services and a Council Tax rise, has been approved.

During a two hour debate on Thursday on the proposed budget, Councillors blamed government austerity for the ever tightening budget, with one Green Councillor saying: "We're not just having to cut to the bone, we're now amputating limbs."

Under the new budget around £13.5 million will be cut from services including libraries and museums and street cleansing.

Council Tax will rise by 2.99 per cent.

Even after the cuts there will need to be another £19.9 million cut in the 2020-21 budget.

Overall hundreds of jobs are likely to be cut over the next two years.

Earlier this week the Labour group announced some relief - a one off boost of £6.5 million to children's services to help recruit more social workers and a scaling back of cuts to welfare advice services and street cleansing services.

At the full Council meeting members debated on the budget for around two hours, with the Conservatives, Green Party and Independents all tabling their own budget amendments.

Eventually the Labour budget was voted through.

At the start of the debate Council leader Susan Hinchcliffe said the Council was now half the size it was in 2010, before austerity, and had lost £262 m from its budget since 2010 due to government cuts to local councils.

She said: "It takes the Council a huge amount of resource to cut the budget each year, resources that could be spent on more productive things if only Theresa May had stuck to her word and agreed to end austerity.

"Councils are at breaking point, austerity has to end before there is nothing left of our public services.

"The government can't stand by while Rome burns.

"None of us got into politics to have to make these kinds of cuts."

The Conservative amendment would have still seen Council Tax rise, but by 1.99 per cent. There would have been fewer cuts - with the street cleansing service remaining as is rather than being cut by £500,000 under the Labour proposals, but it would require the Council to take £3.2 million from its reserves to balance the budget.

The reduced Council Tax rise would also mean the Council would have to find an extra £2 million in savings in the coming year.

Cllr Hinchcliffe dismissed the Conservative budget as a "budget for a leaflet" adding: "1.99 per cent Council Tax rise is saves households just 26 pence per week compared to our budget, and increases our budget gap the next year by £2 million."

Councillor Mike Pollard, speaking on behalf of the Conservatives, said: "Our budget will reduce the burden on the hard working Council Tax payers."

He also proposed a reduction in parking charges.

Councillor Kevin Warnes (Green, Shipley) said: "As they grapple with the latest round of cuts from the Conservative government, Councils are at breaking point.

"We're not just having to cut to the bone, we're amputating some of our limbs."

The Green amendment called for a range of multi-million pound investments over the next three years to help ‘future-proof’ Bradford in relation to the challenges of climate change.

Councillor Adrian Naylor, speaking on behalf of the Independent Group, said: "I don't envy the ruling group having to make these cuts."

His group's amendments would see parking charges in smaller towns and villages in the district cut in a bit to help local businesses.

Councillor Jeanette Sunderland spoke on behalf of the Liberal Democrats, and praised Councillor Hinchcliffe for "raising Bradford's case where she can."

But she added: "Not everything in this budget has been done as a result of the national situation - some responsibility for these cuts lies with the choices of the Labour group."

She said a number of cuts made by the Council, including to Council Tax support and Early Help and Prevention services, had hit the poorest people in the district the hardest.

Councillor Simon Cooke (Cons, Bingley Rural) suggested the Council had an issue communicating its budget pressures with the public. He said: "People look at the Council and see press releases about new projects and investments and thing 'are they really short of money?' If you are going to try to persuade people you're short of money then you have to make it look the case. To a lot of people it will look like you have money in your back pockets for all these pet projects. You need to be more honest with people, otherwise you will keep getting criticised."

In response Cllr Hinchcliffe said: "We were able to deliver the Broadway Centre in a time of Austerity, which is something you couldn't do under 10 years of leadership with double the money."

Councillor Riaz Ahmed (Lib Dem, Bradford Moor) said a reduction in the number of Councillors could help reduce the Council's budget.

The budget then went to a vote, with the different parties amendments being voted down before the Labour budget was approved.