Opposition figures have claimed that Somerset’s public services are facing “death by a hundred cuts” as the county council seeks a further £14M in savings.

Somerset County Council’s main opposition group says there are plans for cuts in 110 separate areas – including a hiatus on school building – to balance the authority’s books.

The group has alleged the council’s school building programme will not be able to proceed because it cannot afford to borrow the money needed to build them.

The council has responded that it has to “live within its means”, and stressed that consultation on the service would be “undertaken as appropriate” to allow the public to have their say.

An update was circulated to all members of the Liberal Democrat group at County Hall, following meetings held with chief executive Pat Flaherty, Conservative council leader David Fothergill and interim director of finance Peter Lewis over the last week.

The update claims that the council’s cabinet will agree 110 separate cuts to a wide range of services in order to save £14M before February 2019, when the council’s budget is set.

This £14M is on top of other proposed savings which the council had previously agreed in its 2018/19 budget.

Mr Flaherty stated in July that 80 per cent of these previously identified savings have already been delivered.

Of the £14M in savings needed, £4M will come from each of children’s services, adults services and economic and community infrastructure (ECI), which includes highways maintenance and the council’s contribution to the Somerset Waste Partnership. The remaining £2M will be sourced from other projects.

The cuts would see the council’s services reduced to a core, where only the basic statutory needs would be met, along the lines of measures recently proposed by East Sussex County Council.

It is understood that both of Taunton’s park and ride sites could close permanently to save money, and that the savings plan could also impact on the future of Somerset’s libraries.

More than 6,000 people responded to a council consultation on the future of their libraries, with a final decision to be made at a cabinet meeting in October.

Community leisure provision could also be affected by cuts, with a forthcoming cabinet decision recommendation that existing contracts should not be extended or renewed, and that the sites should be “made available for disposal to schools where possible.”

The full and detailed list of recommended cuts will be published on September 3, ahead of the next cabinet meeting on September 12.

One source within the Lib Dem group has also claimed that the council’s flagship capital programme of delivering 24 new and replacement schools by 2023 will not be achieved, because the council cannot afford to service the £120M loan it would need to borrow to fund the design and construction.

Council leader David Fothergill has not confirmed either the number or the total amount of cuts being considered, and has not commented on the status of the schools building programme.

He said: “We have been very open about our financial challenge, which comes from greatly reduced funding and a growing demand for the services we provide.

“This council, like all local authorities, is facing considerable pressures on all its budgets, but we have plans and we will deliver on them. These pressures aren’t new – in the last seven or so years we have made around £130M in savings and efficiencies, while improving performance in many areas, especially in children’s and adult services.

“Any savings will be taken with a full consideration of the implications, but we have to live within our means and are looking at all services to see where more savings and efficiencies can be made by managing demand, being more productive, or reducing services.

“Over the coming weeks, due process will be followed to ensure that impacts are identified, and consultation undertaken as appropriate. As part of this process, we will continue to engage and inform our partners.

“Formal decisions will be made during September.”