A public consultation on Somerset Council’s budget launched on 11th December 2023
It will offer a chance for people to have their say in light of the financial emergency, which was called in November.
It’s open to all, and we are encouraging our Somerset communities, residents, businesses, stakeholders, and partners to take part.
The consultation highlights several discretionary services which could be redesigned, reduced, or even stopped.
It goes live from 11 December and will close on 22 January.
The link can be found at: https://somersetcouncil.citizenspace.com/comms/budget-consultation-2024-2025/
It can also be completed in libraries and council offices across Somerset.
The in-year overspend for 2023/24 is £27m.
The projected budget gap for 2024/25 is £100m.
To close the gap and balance the budget next year a series of service reductions, efficiency savings, and increases to fees and charges, including Council Tax, will need to be considered.
It is clear that this alone will not close the budget gap.
Plans to fundamentally change the council’s systems and processes to streamline its operations will need to speed up to reduce the size of the council in future.
Leader of Somerset Council, Cllr Bill Revans; “urges everyone to take part in the consultation, read through the information, understand our challenges, and have your say.”
“We are facing very difficult decisions – this is not where we want to be. But we must face the reality of what is, fundamentally, a broken system of local government funding nationally.
“The cost of delivering our services, particularly social care, is increasing at a much faster rate than our income.
“This means we have to consider every available option to plug our budget gap, including increasing fees, reducing operating costs and finding savings across all areas. Before we make any decisions, it’s important we listen to our residents, especially when those decisions will affect people across Somerset.”