South Somerset Council raises concern over £330k shortfall

South Somerset District Council has warned that a four year funding offer will see it owing £330,000 to the government.

Currently grant funding is provided to rural councils across the country, however the amount has been reduced and will soon disappear altogether by 2020. The authority said it had reluctantly agreed to accept the new four year funding deal but warned the cuts may lead to a council tax increase.

It explained that the introduction of 100 per cent retention of business rates in the fourth years of the funding period would leave the council with a negative revenue support grant.

In the local authority’s recent settlement report it claimed that £330,000 would be required to be paid back to the government in order to redistribute to other authorities via a top-up and tariff system.

Ric Pallister, leader of South Somerset Council, said that the decision on wether to accept the funding was ‘impossible’.

Meanwhile, a Department for Communities and Local Government spokesperson said it had provided a long-term funding settlement which will give the council ‘more than £70 million to spend between now and 2020.’

"This will allow them to deliver high quality services that local people want to see.”