September 13, 2018
Burnham and Highbridge councillors speak out over huge cutbacks

Burnham-On-Sea and Highbridge's county councillors have expressed concern at huge cutbacks to services that have been confirmed this week by Somerset County Council.

As reported here, the County Council's cabinet has this week approved major financial cutbacks in order to save about £13m over the rest of this financial year, and £15m in 2019/20.

Proposals approved include reducing the winter gritting network from 23 to 16 routes, including gritting routes in Burnham-On-Sea and Highbridge, plus the loss of up to 130 jobs.

John Woodman, county councillor for Highbridge, told "This is not what I came into local government to do."

"The government funding formula for rural authorities like Somerset needs to change, it is broken."

He added: "There are rising costs and demand, particularly in adult social care, children's services and learning disabilities."

"Also, we have had to absorb about £130m in savings and efficiencies. In real terms, the Council's budget has been cut by nearly 40% in eight years."

"By law we have to deliver a balanced budget and live within our means. The funding we now receive falls far short of the costs of the services we provide."

"The Leader is calling on our MPs to not vote through any government budget that does not address our financial challenges and acknowledges the increasing demand we face in adults social care and protecting vulnerable children."

Peter Clayton, Burnham's county councillor, told "I will do my very best to ensure any impacts on the residents of Burnham and Highbridge are minimal."

He added: "I will fight to maintain all our services funded by the County Council."


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