December 29, 2010
Council Leader 'optimistic' for 2011 despite financial cuts
County Council Leader Ken Maddock has this week spoken of his
optimism for the year ahead despite the threat of further multi-million
pound financial cutbacks across our area.
his New Year's Message issued on Wednesday (December 29th), Cllr
Ken Maddock warned that further severe cuts will have to made
to public services during 2011.
says: "Theres no doubt that 2010 has been a
tough year for everyone. For me as leader of Somerset County Council,
it has definitely been one of the most difficult and challenging
of my political career."
"Difficult, because after already agreeing £43m of
savings in November, Somerset County Council still face further
severe cuts in 2011, and challenging, because of this, we are
forced to take even more tough decisions."
"The harsh settlement grant we recently received from central
government has made our already dire financial situation worse.
It took a few weeks to unravel the settlements full extent,
but now it has become startlingly clear. Somerset County Council
needs to make a further £20m in savings in the next financial
"But, we saw this blow coming and took early preventative
measures. If we had not acted so soon, we would undoubtedly be
facing even bigger cuts going forward into the New Year. We made
efficiencies and we looked at new ways of working. We also took
stock. We know what we stand for, we know what we do and we know
what we cant do. Should we keep a library open or spend
the money looking after vulnerable children? Should we help the
elderly or keep a recycling centre open?"
"However, the New Year is a time to look forward, and despite
our financial deficit I have real optimism for Somerset County
Council in 2011. I foresee an organisation that is smaller, leaner,
but also dynamic, robust and ambitious with the drive and purpose
"So, what can the people of Somerset expect next year? We
are relentlessly driving to bring down Somersets debt and
we have frozen Council Tax for yet another year."
"Admittedly, some services people have come to expect from
us we can no longer afford to do but Somerset will still continue
to be a wonderful place to work, live and visit."
"New businesses are starting up in the County all the time
and we are working hard on the proposed new power station at Hinkley
Point to provide thousands of new jobs for local people. Also,
new major roads and a new bridge will ease traffic congestion
in Taunton whilst three new schools are under construction in
Bridgwater. Standards across our schools are improving (up by
five percent from last year) and our adult social care is amongst
the best in the country."
"So, although 2011 is going to a tough year, I know by working
together and sharing the burden, we can reap the rewards, together."