Ellie Ames 09 November 2023

Somerset declares ‘financial emergency’

Somerset declares ‘financial emergency’ image
Image: somerset.gov.uk

Somerset Council has declared it is facing a ‘financial emergency’ and agreed that ‘urgent actions’ are required to tackle a £100m shortfall.

The unitary authority, which came into being in Apri, said the funding gap for 2024-25 is due in large part to an expected £70m increase in the cost of adult social care next year.

At a meeting yesterday, executive members agreed to dispose of commercial investments and pledged to step up ongoing talks with the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.

Council leader Bill Revans also wrote to all city, town and parish councils in Somerset this week, asking them to consider taking on greater responsibility for community assets and services.

In his letter, Cllr Revans said that while decisions on cuts were yet to be made, the funding shortfall could impact on the delivery of services, including public toilets, theatres, libraries, flood prevention, and fly-tipping.

He said: ‘Many city, town and parish councils have already expressed an interest in devolution and we recognise that some may wish to consider taking on community functions which could be at risk if we can no longer afford them.’

Lead member for resources Liz Leyshon said: ‘While we will continue to call for a national solution to this national problem, we are also determined to do everything we can to reduce our budget gap to ensure we continue to provide support for those most in need.’

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