Somerset budget agreed

Somerset County Council presented their proposed budget this morning. It may have been a sense of change in the air? It may have been a sort of end of term atmosphere. After all SCC expects to be abolished by the Secretary of State for Local Government and Communities, Robert Jenrick. But either way the budget was passed by 45 votes to nil with four abstentions.

This is a first in recent times. The LibDems have always voted against the Conservative budget in recent years. With Labour and the Independents often split. But today there was some degree of common purpose. It helped that the impact of COVID 19 has been such, that Government is passing more money down to SCC.

For instance the 2021/22 budget will include an additional £10.2m for adult social care services. there will be a further £9m to continue improvements in children’s services. There is more money, £6.5m to be exact to spend on climate emergency projects. As ever the big ticket items are capital projects. So SCC proposed £130m to be invested in major infrastructure schemes such as roads and schools. Of that sum a total of £74m has already been allocated to approved new projects.

It is not all about increased spending and the SCC budget will see cuts in spending in back office services.

While there is extra money from Government, you the taxpayer will be divvying up too. SCC’s share of council tax will be increase by 1.99% with a further 3% adult social care precept.

A new £10.8m Emergency Fund has been established for activities to combat coronavirus and its impacts. This in acknowledgement of the continued economic uncertainties brought about by the pandemic.

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