Council cuts threaten jobs

MASSIVE cuts are on the cards at Somerset County Council after it revealed it needs to save £30 million from next year’s budget.

The authority faces a shortfall of £106 million over the next four years. Cuts, including hiving off museums from county council control, and increased charges, including putting up the cost of getting married, are planned.

The council also revealed that 60 jobs will go and a further 300 will be transferred to trust or social enterprises.

Other plans to be debated by the cabinet next month are:

Cuts in the number of recycling sites – Somerset Waste Partnership will be asked to make savings which could result in poorly used sites closing. It is hoped that a restructure of services could see some of the busiest centres returning to seven days a week opening

Reduced spending on rights of way, canal paths and areas of outstanding natural beauty. Roles could also be removed in the countryside, ecology, and associated teams

Cuts on highways maintenance including verge cutting, drainage, hedge trimming and weed control, and reducing management costs. The council also wants to invest in projects which could save money including increasing the number of walk to school routes.

Replace street lights with LED lamps saving £300,000 per year.

Changing the way the learning disabilities service operates to place people in modern buildings and remove the need to pay for unused or empty beds, and freeing up some buildings to be sold off.

Further proposals to close the financial deficit will be discussed in January and February as the council sets its annual budget.

Council leader John Osman said: “I appeal to the public to take part in consultations and in our balancing act exercise through the council’s website and Facebook, and to continue to give us feedback as we look to face up to a very challenging financial outlook.”


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