Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Council forced to seek help from parishes

  • Comment

Cash-strapped West Somerset DC has asked parish and town councils to take over some of its services as it tries to sort out its finances.

The council, which has “virtually no reserves” according to council leader Keith Ross (Ind), is also to appeal to the Department for Communities & Local Government for additional funding and permission to increase council tax above the cap.

Councillors have been presented with a damning report by consultant and former Westminster City Council chief executive Bill Roots, which criticised “imprudent” consumption of reserves and warned that the viability of the council was in question.

Troubleshooter Mr Roots also recommended that because West Somerset was so small - with a population of 35,000 and a workforce of 100 full-time staff - it should be subject to the same lighter regulation as the Isles of Scilly and the City of London Corporation.

The report has been passed on to the Audit Commission and Cllr Ross said he hoped to have a meeting with auditors and DCLG officials “in the next few weeks”.

Whitehall’s agreement to an extraordinary council tax increase and an exemption from the Audit Commission’s standard inspection regime “would take some of the pressure off us”, said Mr Ross.

In the meantime, he said, councillors have been asked to consider other ways of saving money, such as handing some responsibilities to “some willing town and parish councils” which are in a better financial position because their tax collection is not capped.

  • Comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions.

Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.