We need change
The four district councils and the county council we have now are all working hard to do the best they can, especially in these difficult times. But we know many people are confused about who provides what, that money is tight and services are suffering.
Somerset lags behind the rest of the UK in a number of areas:
- 25% of children in Somerset live in poverty
- 14,000 families are in need of urgent help
- our education system does not do enough to create social mobility
- on leaving school, too many people move away for better prospects or take up poorly paid jobs
- as an increasing proportion of people live to a much older age, services for both young people and old people are struggling to cope.
This is the vicious circle that we have been stuck in for years.
We need a fresh start to turn this around.
This is not about simply creating a bigger, cheaper version of what we have now.
Moving the deckchairs around and changing the name plate won’t cut it. Stronger Somerset proposes deep, fundamental reform that will transform the places and quality of life in Somerset and give residents excellent, value-for-money services.
We will not lose the things we do well now. Stronger Somerset will build on the strength of district councils who have worked well together to reduce waste, to deliver new housing, and reduce costs whilst improving the services the public most value.
Stronger Somerset will build on these foundations and end the confusion of the system based on county and district councils in our county. All residents will deal with either Western Somerset or Eastern Somerset for all of their services.
The two new councils we propose will each cover distinct areas based on established local economies as well as aligning with existing boundaries used by emergency services and the health service. This is the right solution for a county of Somerset’s size, recognising the important differences of our diverse communities.
These new councils will be small enough, so they know you and you know them, but big enough to be effective and economic.
They will meet the needs of their local communities and work together for the benefit of the whole county.
Stronger Somerset will deliver:
Stronger local economies, generating wealth for local people, the wider region and UK economy
Great places to live, work and study, balancing new homes and facilities to support growing and existing communities
A Green Somerset achieving net zero carbon, creating new green businesses and jobs, and protecting our valuable environment
Excellent and affordable services, working in new ways to improve those services that people value most and are vital for our communities
Two new councils, one for Western Somerset and one for Eastern Somerset, replacing the existing five councils
£70m net benefits to local services over the first 5 years.