I AGREE with Councillor John Osman that Somerset County Council is underfunded by the government.

He uses this an excuse to wriggle out of any responsibility for the meltdown that the Conservative administration is presiding over.

The catalogue of failure is endless.

Getting rid of hundreds of staff with large redundancy costs, then paying huge amounts for agency staff, costing twice as much as the staff made redundant.

Constant changes in senior management, with highly paid consultants brought in to manage failure. They paid one consultancy £1,000 per day for one consultant to administer their cuts.

John Osman presided as a cabinet member over the rapid collapse of Children’s Services from the “Outstanding” Ofsted rating he inherited from the Liberal Democrats to the lowest rating of “inadequate”.

So he paid a consultant one of the five highest council salaries in England. The result? The service for vulnerable children remained “inadequate”.
Choosing cuts which penalise the most vulnerable, as well as costing the taxpayer much more than they will save.

Examples include older people at risk of occupying hospital beds when they should be cared for in their own homes, or £2.5m cut from services to vulnerable adults, including those with mental health problems.

This year an inflation-busting council tax rise of over five per cent plus massive cuts.

The government made a last-minute cash bribe to buy off Tory councillors and MPs but wealthy Surrey secured five times as much as Somerset.

We were clobbered by a local “flood tax” despite David Cameron’s promise that “money is no object”.

Clearly our local Conservative leadership has no influence with their government and cannot be trusted to run our local councils.