Published: October 24, 2010
Council cuts 'will widen the gap between Burnham and Highbridge'

Burnham-On-Sea's MP and a leading local councillor have this week warned that the gap between Burnham and Highbridge could widen as council spending cutbacks are implemented.

Tessa Munt and Joe Leach made the warning after Somerset County Council unveiled its plans for tens of millions of pounds of cutbacks.

Highbridge's waste recycling centre and library are among the council-run facilities that are threatened by possible closure.

And other services - from social care to bus subsidies and repairing roads - are also set to be cut back.

MP Tessa Munt, pictured on the dividing line between Burnham and Highbridge, told "I am shocked at the scale of Somerset County Council's cutbacks, which are not necessary and have been poorly thought out."

"The government cuts are phased over several years to minimise the impact on people and Ken Maddock, the Council Leader, should be careful about what is cut."

"Reducing youth services, for example, is very short-sighted. It will lead to more young people on our streets and, with PCSO police numbers also being reduced, there's the potential for increased trouble and crime."

She added that the proposed closure of eight out of 18 household recycling centres across the county will be "a false economy" due to increased landfill costs.

Highbridge councillor Joe Leach added that the poorest people are set to be hit particularly hard by the cuts.

He told "Highbridge has a lot of young people who rely on state benefits which are due to be reduced or cut."

"There's a divide already between Highbridge and Burnham, which I think could widen. Older people are also going to be affected. Effectively, we now have younger people being told to learn how to fend for themselves, and elderly people being forced to pay more for their care."


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