IT NOW appears that the political decision, by the Conservative ruling group on the county council, not to increase the council tax, means that there is now a budget deficit of £24 million.

So halfway through the financial year they are considering borrowing £10 million from the schools balances or reserves, with a repayment on demand.

Further scrutiny of such a decision shows that the council is now in danger of not being able to deliver statutory services, because of the financial shortfall.

At the same time the public can now discover that schools in Somerset are holding £23 million in their balances.

Now what is important here is that if schools are holding large revenue balances, that means that the money is not being spent on pupils in Somerset schools.

In the past the council has argued the case for fair funding for schools and education, but this argument is weakened by the fact that schools are hoarding funds that should be spent on education.

The Conservatives at County Hall are showing that they are financially inept as a ruling group. Even if they borrow £10 million from the schools reserves or balances, they could be in a situation that if schools decided to spend the money on education, which they should. Then the county council could be in financial difficulty again during 2016/17.

Not every school is going to be holding large reserves, but it is for parents and carers to hold their school to account, if the money is not being spent on the children’s education.

This situation just shows that the Conservative ruling group is totally mismanaging the finances and the budget, when it comes to delivering the necessary services for people in Somerset.

At the same time they have allowed the school reserves to grow, without understanding the impact on the pupils’ education in Somerset.

Leader of the Labour Group on Sedgemoor District Council