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Leader of Somerset County Council says pain caused by cuts 'worth it' to get finances in order

Credit: ITV News West Country

The leader of Somerset County Council says the pain caused by huge service cuts at the authority has been "worth it" to get its finances in order.

£15million will need to be found over the financial year after around £30million in cuts last year.

£15m
will need to be found by Somerset County Council this financial year.

The process of making savings is likely to mean job losses at County Hall in Taunton.

Despite this, Cllr David Fothergill says it was "the right thing to do".

I think we became seriously concerned in June of last year that the finances were effectively slipping away and we were projecting over a £20million overspend and as we sit here today we’re going to come in at the end of the year with probably a £1million underspend. So we’re in a much better place.

– Cllr David Fothergill
Cllr Fothergill says overseeing service cuts in Somerset has been Credit: ITV News West Country

Cllr Fothergill says overseeing service cuts in Somerset has been, "very painful", but necessary.

I don't live in isolation here. I understand the problems, I know the people that are affected by the problems.

My role really is to make sure that Somerset County Council is delivering long term sustainable services and we couldn't do that until we'd put the finances back on an even footing.

– Cllr David Fothergill
Credit: ITV News West Country

Despite the tough decisions he has had to make so far, Cllr Fothergill is confident things will improve.

In years to come I would like to think that it’s going to get easier for us but then that raises the questions of what would we then build back in, or what would we do differently, or what would we spend money on?

I think there are certain things where we could spend more but there’s certain things where we made difficult decisions but it’s been the right thing to do. So it will be a different organisation going forward.

– Cllr David Fothergill