Somerset Council will be sending the Government a ‘Productivity Plan’ – setting out how the council is improving efficiency and reducing waste, while also highlighting the barriers facing local government.

The key document, which will be discussed by the council’s Executive on Monday 15 July, summarises all the actions being taken in Somerset to secure long-term financial sustainability.
It also calls on the Government to take action to address the broken system of Council Tax, end the unfairness of short-term funding pots, and invest in support for vulnerable children and their families, education, and adults’ services.

Cllr Bill Revans, Leader of Somerset Council, said: “The Productivity Plan sets out very clearly the many actions we have taken or are taking to address the financial emergency facing local government.

“In Somerset we have already saved millions of pounds by moving from five councils to one, we’ve made heartbreaking decisions across all service areas to find savings, we have worked in partnership with city, town and parish councils to protect services, and we are currently going through a top-to-bottom restructure to reduce our pay bill.

“But as the plan highlights, we cannot solve this crisis ourselves. There are fundamental problems facing all councils across the country and we need the new Government to play its part in protecting greatly valued and often critical council services.”

The Productivity Plan must be submitted to the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities as part of a national review of local government productivity.

Monday’s Executive meeting will also see debate on other important items including proposals to consult with the public on potential changes to the Council Tax Reduction scheme which supports working age people on low incomes.

There will be updates on a deal to devolve services and assets to Yeovil Town Council, and plans to rent out offices in Taunton to save money.

There will also be an update on the waste collection contract which is set to cost more in the future.

Cllr Revans added:

“Local councils provide absolutely vital services like bin collections, with costs changing due to many external factors we cannot control. But we have no ability to raise income and are completely reliant on a flawed Council Tax system which was set up based on the notional cost of properties in 1991.

“This is the real barrier to productivity and means we are being forced to take drastic actions which will directly impact our residents and communities.”

The meeting will be held at Deane House in Taunton on Monday 15 July at 10am. A link to the Executive papers can be found on the council’s website. 

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About this article

July 8, 2024

Debbie Rundle

Press Release