Somerset

South Somerset agree to £3m cuts for next year's budget

Pound notes generic
Image caption The council has agreed to freeze its share of the council tax bill

Cuts of £3m have been agreed by councillors at South Somerset District Council.

The savings are being made through job cuts, changes to staff contracts and moving staff from outlying council offices to the main headquarters.

Deputy leader Rick Pallister (Lib Dem) said: "The pain has largely been taken within the council, within our staff and within our premises."

The district council has also frozen its share of the council tax bill.

Leader of the opposition, Martin Wale (Con) said: "Basically they have trimmed off over a £1m by various processes and have balanced the budget for next year which is good but the problem is there is more debt that is brewing.

"Over £4m will be trimmed off the next two budgets but they have left that issue until next year - the opportunity was there, and it was not grasped."

South Somerset District set its budget of £17.3m for 2011-12, having previously received £20.3m in its government settlement for 2010-11.

An earlier decision to share a chief executive with East Devon District Council saved the council £96,000 a year and allowing Goldenstones Leisure Centre to be run by a charitable organisation will also save £210,000 a year.

Another £100,000 will be saved by not filling posts made vacant through retirement and natural wastage with an additional three compulsory redundancies made by the council.

The local authority employs 500 full-time staff and 200 part-time staff.

One of the casualties was the community Playbus scheme which the council hoped would be run by a community group.

The budget proposals were agreed by a majority of 35 votes, with no opposition but with 12 abstentions mainly from Conservative councillors.

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