SOMERSET County Council is proposing to increase its share of council tax by £67 a year as it seeks to bridge a £13m budget gap.

Despite this increase, staff are likely to be made redundant and more charges brought in, the council say.

The council says to protect frontline services for the most vulnerable in the wake of falling government funding, it plans to increase its share by 5.99 per cent, or £1.30 a week for a Band D property.

The County Council has made around £140 million worth of savings in the past sever years and this year alone their grant from central government has gone down by another £10 million.

Council leader, Cllr David Fothergill, said: “Everybody knows there are massive pressures on local authority finances and I believe councils across the country will be looking at similar proposals for council tax increases.

“It will be a decision for the Full Council to take next month but we have to protect those key services that support our most vulnerable residents.

“We have made savings of around £140m of savings in the last seven years. It’s a massive challenge, but more are needed and we will looking to make as much as we can by getting the most from our contracts”.

The council says some of the key areas for savings include reviewing contracts and reducing staff, promoting independence to help people stay in their own homes longer, recruiting more foster carers to reduce spend on high cost care placements, and 'introducing or increasing charges where appropriate'.

The council will continue to spend more than £300m on services to residents.

In its autumn statement the Government gave councils the freedom to raise Council Tax by up to 2.99 per cent in recognition of increasing pressures and costs of inflation. The Chancellor Philip Hammond also said councils could raise the precept for Adult Social Care to three per cent.

Together the additional increases in council tax and social care precept would generate more than £4m for services.

The Medium Term Financial Plan will be discussed by the scrutiny committee for policies, adults and health when it meets on January 24.