Published: January 18, 2014
Council cuts youth services, jobs and sheltered housing to save £18m

Cuts to youth services and sheltered housing provision have been proposed as Somerset County Council plans a fifth successive year with no rise in its council tax precept.

The proposals also include the loss of up to 100 jobs, recycling centre closures and a £40,000 cut in the cost of managing Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Proposed savings of more than £18million were unveiled by Somerset County Council this week as the Conservative-led authority also confirmed it will continue to spend more than £300million on council services across the county.

Youth and community services will be reduced by £936,000 and sheltered housing provision will be reduced by £500,000 over two years.

The council's budget, which will be decided on 19th February, proposes more than £160million will be spent looking after vulnerable adults - the biggest area of council spending.

Spending of £40million is identified for spending on social services for children including adoption and fostering services and protecting children from abuse.

Commitment to roads and street lighting was confirmed with a proposal for continuing investment of £30million per year.

Council leader John Osman said: "We have to make tough choices, but we are the same as any careful household. We have a reduced income, increased bills, something has to give."

Cabinet member David Huxtable added: "It is not something we want to do, but it is something we have to do - just as every council in the country is now doing."

"We are taking people's views into account where we can - that's why our council tax is frozen, but these are tough financial times."

"I understand that people want their services to remain the same, but we face such financial challenges that we have to reduce or even stop some of what we do. I do want to stress that while we have made savings to balance our budget, we are still spending more than £300m on the important frontline services that our residents need."

Earlier this week, we reported here how the council had decided not to raise its council tax rates across the area.



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