County Hall Cuts – Why I will meet the unions

The County Council  crisis, and the scale of the spending cuts already proposed, is far too important and worrying to ignore. Today I met with a team from Unison representing front-line workers in vital services. They are my constituents and they have given me a detailed glimpse of the scale and impact that the latest spending reductions are likely to have. I confess I was shocked. This is a complex issue. There is no doubt that national austerity has bitten deep, too deep, into the support a county like Somerset would normally expect. It is time for the Government to ease up. I have and will continue to make this abundantly clear in Parliament and with Ministers. It would be reasonable under such difficult circumstances to allow the county to raise more in Council Tax in order to avoid future problems. I am urging this course of action too. But I believe it is vital to hear all sides. I have talked to councillors and political colleagues. I am also hoping to meet with Unite, the other major trade union representing Somerset County Council staff. We all ought to have  one common goal – to protect and improve key public services for the vulnerable and needy.