Somerset

Somerset County Council cuts recommended amid protest

Protesters
Image caption About 200 protesters, many from arts organisations, gathered at the meeting

Somerset County Council's cabinet has unanimously voted to recommend £43m of cuts.

Plans to save money include stopping resurfacing roads, youth clubs, bus subsidies and arts groups.

About 200 protesters, many from arts organisations, gathered at the meeting earlier.

The plans will now go before the full council on 10 November. Some 1,500 jobs are set to go at the authority in the next three years.

Local campaigner Jane Hole earlier said the council was a "philistine" organisation for proposed 100% cuts to arts funding.

'Preposterous 'luvvies'

Campaigners at the meeting at Taunton Conference Centre included conductor Charles Hazlewood and director and actor Samuel West.

Mr West said: "This is not about us as preposterous 'luvvies' making special pleas. It's about art for everybody and it being a force for good in everyone's lives.

"Somerset, in particular, is a very rural county and what you get for your £159,000 is organisations that go into the tiniest areas and make people's lives less boring."

Other protesters were from public sector workers union Unison.

The Conservative-controlled authority said it faced a 25% funding cut over four years.

Council leader Ken Maddock said at the meeting that he had asked local MPs to lobby the government for more money for the county.

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