leader attacks government's 'unfair' funding settlement
County Council Leader John Osman says he is deeply disappointed
by the Governments "unfair" funding settlement
for Somersets key services.
Osman has also criticised what he describes as the Governments
failure to redress the balance between the South West and Englands
other regions, calling for "Somerset pounds for Somerset
comments follow this weeks announcement of the Local Government
County Council estimates it will receive £1million less
than predicted in Government support as a result.
is on top of a stark £21million drop in the Governments
County Council funding for 2015/16 from £63million
in 2014/15 down to £42.3million in the face of rising
demand and significant pressure on Somersets key services.
Osman said: "I am deeply disappointed with the settlement.
Not only has the Government failed to redress its unfair funding
across the rural South West authorities, in its bias towards Englands
South East and North it is effectively acting to send what is
much-needed Somerset taxpayers money to elsewhere in the
more, while the settlement is roughly £1m less than we had
anticipated which some might argue is not vast in the grand
scheme it hides a much bigger issue. It takes no account
of the rising cost of delivering services, nor the relentlessly
increasing demand for services, particularly those that support
our elderly residents and children."
preferred measure used by Central Government, that of councils
spending power, which appears to paint a positive picture for
the County Council, is no true indicator of the scale of the challenges
the Council faces, he added.
matter what measure is used, the funding for Somerset fails to
keep pace with rising cost and demand, and that means that we,
like other authorities, have more savings to make with all the
extremely difficult decisions that come with that," he said.
"Now, more so than ever, we need Somerset pounds for Somerset
Local Government Finance Settlement details how much funding Somerset
County Council, among other local authorities in England, will
receive from Government departments to run its core services.
'spending power' measure used by Central Government is a calculation
which factors in the Revenue Support Grant given to local councils,
income generated through Business Rates and Council Tax, and the
Council Tax Freeze Grant.