West Somerset Council to lose 11% of staff in cutbacks

Image caption, West Somerset Council covers an area from Minehead to Exmoor

The smallest district council in England is to cut 11% of its staff in order to balance its budget.

West Somerset has a shortfall of £600,000 from a £5.21m budget. To achieve this, 10 employees out of 90 staff are to be made redundant.

Councillors also agreed to a pay freeze for staff and cuts in audit fees, service reviews and legal fees. It will also increase some car parking charges.

Conservative leader Tim Taylor said the next year would see cuts to grants.

He added: "We tried to stop cutting grants we're making to the disadvantaged and to try and cut services outside of the community.

"We have by and large managed that for the next financial year but when we get into 2012/13, my word, we are going to be hitting the disadvantaged and vulnerable."

He said the council had decided to delay tax relief for charities and that grants to organisations such as the Citizens Advice Bureau would be safe for this year but might be at risk in the following budget.

The authority is led by a Conservative leader but is run in coalition with Independents.

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