Published: January 26, 2010
Council tax bills look set to be frozen in Burnham-On-Sea area

Council tax bills look set to be frozen in the Burnham-On-Sea area as Somerset County Council seeks to cut £40m from its spending over the next year.

The proposals announced on Tuesday (January 26th) are due to be discussed at the Council's Cabinet meeting on February 3rd and include a freeze in council tax for 2010/11.

If approved, it would mean the County Council’s bill for a Band D home will remain at £1,027.30. A £40m spending cut is around 10 per cent of the overall council budget.

Council Leader Ken Maddock said instead of the normal three year budget, the Authority will be agreeing a one-year spending plan to reflect uncertainty over future spending and the upcoming general election.

"We’ve taken a tough stance with our biggest contracts to bring about further savings,” he told "In just one case, around £5m a year has been saved to deliver the same amount of work within the contract to manage Somerset roads – that’s a total of £25 million over the length of the contract."

Reducing £19 million from the Council’s spending budget and £21 million from its capital – or building – budget, in an effort to reduce costs, will also be discussed.

A number of schemes planned for 2010/11 may be shelved. These include plans for a new library in Castle Cary, and the extension of the Silk Mills Park and Ride in Taunton.

Further savings are already being delivered at County Hall itself, with a jobs freeze bringing the number of people employed to the lowest level for two years, and saving £1 million to date.

Cllr David Huxtable, Somerset County Council’s Cabinet Member for Resources, added: "All Councils throughout the UK are taking tough decisions about their spending commitments and it’s just the same for Somerset. Increasing Council Tax at a time where people are losing their jobs and finding it financially difficult would be wildly inappropriate. We’re placing the onus on our own organisation to tighten its belt, just like thousands of families across Somerset are having to do."

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