Councillor explains resignation
Following the County Council meeting on Wednesday 18th July and the attempts by the Conservative administration to work through a credible budget for this year, Dean Ruddle and Neil Bloomfield announced their resignation from the administration. Dean (County Councillor for Somerton) and Neil (County Councillor for Martock) were respectively Chair and Vice-Chair of Somerset County Council’s audit committee.
The current predictions are that SCC will have a deficit of £12m on its finances for 2018/19. Whilst the resignations will reduce the majority of the Conservatives on the council, they still have a very substantial overall majority with 35 seats to 12 LibDems, 3 Labour and 2 Greens.
In a statement to Leveller.Live Dean Ruddle explained his position: “It is with much regret that today I resign as a member of the Conservative Group at Somerset County Council. After 5 years as a Conservative county councillor I can no longer support the party’s direction of travel on local government finance. Somerset, in particular, finds itself in very poor financial shape after almost a decade of cuts in funding from central government, while demand for key services such as adult social care and children’s services is at record levels. Local government has borne the brunt of cuts following the global financial crisis. I can no longer reconcile the basic contradiction between sitting as a local Conservative councillor under a Conservative government that is compounding this problem. I have a duty to represent and protect the interests of the residents of Somerset, and Somerton in particular, and, in good conscience, I can no longer do that as a Conservative. I will see out the rest of my term as an independent councillor but will continue to support the Conservative administration if it proposes sensible measures to deal with the current budget crisis.”