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Somerset County Council approves cuts in budget

17 February 10 18:48 GMT

Carers in Somerset have warned frontline services will be affected after the county council approved to spend £2.4m less on its care budget.

The cost-cutting measure is part of the Conservative-controlled council's plan to freeze its portion of council tax to try to save £40m.

It voted to take 2% off the budget it spends on adult care providers.

At the budget meeting, it was also announced that 134 posts were to go, 50 of which would be redundancies.

'Share the shame'

Other cuts approved in the seven-hour meeting included abandoning a plan for a new library for Castle Cary, an extension to the Silk Mills park and ride and a new building for the referral unit for excluded pupils in Yeovil.

Crime reduction work is also being cut by £235,000 and school holiday projects for disadvantaged youngsters are to be cancelled.

Andrew Larpent from Somerset's biggest care provider, Somerset Care, said: "There comes a point when efficiency cuts actually mean inadequate resourcing of frontline services, so money for training of staff and money to pay staff, who are already some of the lowest paid in our communities, and do outstanding work."

At the meeting, council leader Ken Maddock likened himself to Barack Obama saying both he and the American president had "inherited a situation in which there was too much tax and too much debt".

Liberal Democrat leader Jill Shortland said: "The general public though, while they think in the short-term they are saving money, when they see the long-term consequences of this they will realise that actually those few pennies and pounds they've saved on the council tax was not worth it."

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