Incompetence 'not to blame' for West Somerset Council's failings

Image caption Minehead is the principal town in the West Somerset district covered by the council

The leader of England's smallest district council says incompetence is not to blame for its current financial problems.

The Local Government Association (LGA) recently published a report which highlights concerns over the viability of West Somerset Council (WSC).

Council leader Tim Taylor blamed "huge" government cuts since 2010.

He said with £1.3m further cuts planned, something radical would need to happen for the council to survive.

Mr Taylor said all options would be considered when full council debates the report in December.

Ian Liddell-Grainger, Conservative MP for Bridgwater said the LGA report was helpful and has "set out the parameters and shows we've got to do an awful lot of work".

The LGA report recommended that WSC considered achieving savings through the sharing of services such as planning and waste collection with neighbouring authorities such as Taunton Deane Borough Council and Sedgemoor District Council.

The LGA's recommendations to the council also included reviewing staffing levels, possible scrapping of some services, selling the leisure centre site as a matter of urgency, and establishing a review of local authority boundaries around West Somerset.

Mr Taylor has said the council will take the LGA recommendations "very seriously indeed".

Some 35,000 people live in West Somerset district.

About a third of those live in the town of Minehead, but much of the authority's 280 sq miles of coast and countryside falls within Exmoor National Park.

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