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'We've been left with no choice' - Up to 130 jobs at risk in Somerset Council's cost-saving proposals

Up to 130 jobs at the Council could be lost if the proposals to save costs are approved later this month. Credit: ITV West Country

Up to 130 staff jobs at Somerset County Council could be lost if a proposed savings plan is approved later this month.

The Council hopes to reduce spending by around £15m in the next two financial years up to 2020.

More than 70 proposals will be considered by the cabinet, including cuts to children's services and reducing winter gritting routes.

The proposals would save the Council around £15m over the next two years. Credit: ITV West Country

The proposals include:

  • Compulsory two days unpaid for all staff and councillors for the next two years (approx. £1m saving).
  • Reducing the winter gritting network from 23 to 16 routes (£120,000).
  • Reduction in the Council’s early help support, including getset services, support for young carers and Youth Services (£2.5m).
  • Suspend Taunton’s two Taunton Park and Ride services (£170,000).
  • Changes to Learning Disability contract (£770,000).

Somerset County Council's finances have been hit by severe funding cuts in the last few years, alongside an increase in cost and demand.

Leader of the Council, Cllr David Fothergill, said that the authority has now reached the 'very sharp end' of austerity.

We’ve tried hard to avoid this, looked at every option open to us in terms of financial flexibility, but have been left with no choice. These proposals will be hard to deliver and difficult to stomach for anyone who works for or with this authority.

– Cllr David Fothergill

A final decision will be made when the cabinet meets later this month.