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Jobs at risk as Somerset County Council considering drastic cost-cutting measures

Credit: ITV West Country

Somerset County Council is considering drastic cost-cutting measures with more than a hundred jobs potentially at risk and Taunton's park and rides both under threat.

The council is faced with having to make severe austerity cuts.

It is starting a consultation process with staff over 130 redundancies.

The Council is faced with having to make severe austerity cuts. Credit: ITV West Country

David Fothergill, leader of Somerset County Council, says the authority has been "open and honest" about the huge financial challenge that it faces.

“We’ve found around £130m of savings and efficiencies in the last eight years and you cannot take 40 per cent of funding out of an organisation without there being an impact.

“The trend of falling central government funding and increasing costs and demand continues and there is no sign of any bailout from Westminster. We have to live within our means and all services have been asked to find further savings."

Credit: ITV West Country

Mr Fothergill says “No decisions have been made" regarding either potential job losses or Taunton's park and rides.

"All will be subject to consultation where necessary, but if proposals are taken forward they will inevitably have an impact on what we can and can’t do.

We have fantastic staff doing great work that improves the lives of residents every day, and it is hugely regrettable that some of them are likely to be affected by this.

– David Fothergill
Both of Taunton's park and rides could potentially be under threat. Credit: ITV West Country

Mr Fothergill says the council has already started a formal consultation with trade unions on potential redundancies "and will of course try and minimise the impact by looking to achieve savings through voluntary redundancy, redeployment within the authority and removing vacant posts wherever possible.

“The coming weeks will be very difficult for the council and its staff, but we have to achieve financial stability and the end result will be a council that can afford itself and continue to provide valuable, long-term sustainable services for our residents.”