"Any future changes at local and county level will have to put the provision and preservation of essential frontline public services and the interests of our residents first.
We should retain expertise whilst reducing costs and generating further economic growth through job creation. Efficiency is not about getting rid of your best staff and replacing them with machines, it is about retaining your assets and that is your staff, but you need to engage with them rather than make them redundant! Encouraging and allowing them to come up with new and innovative ways of working.
It is a total travesty that we find ourselves in this situation due to both the mismanagement of public funds on top of cuts from central government. It is also ironic that leaders at both district and county levels cannot even agree on the direction of travel. The idea that we should continue with the ever growing costs and upheaval of the merger between Taunton Deane and West Somerset Councils and then follow this folly with another but even larger merger between all six councils in Somerset is risible.
This would mean that, the new TDBC/WSC merger would the most expensive and shortest lived council in the history of our country. Having cost millions and lasted less than a year.
Any future changes have to have the best interests of residents in Somerset and should be evidence based with delivery models, proper budget and structure in place.
I will welcome establishment of a Joint Committee to study in detail the idea of providing better, joined-up services that make sense for residents across the length and breadth of our beautiful county of Somerset."
Cllr Simon Coles
Lib Dem Group Leader
Taunton Deane Borough Council