DAVID Fothergill, the leader of Somerset County Council, is reported as saying in the County Gazette of September 6, with reference to the massive further cuts to be imposed, “The funding we receive falls far short of the cost of services we provide”.

So, in other words, we face a real crisis, in the face of which we just get lamentation and the wringing of hands - which has been the council’s stock response ever since the government began their swingeing austerity budgets back in 2010. 

Already, the council has had to absorb a cut in their funding from central government of about £50 million per year and still there is no meaningful resistance to a cynical government only too keen to deflect public anger about the cuts onto local authorities. 

Surely it is time to say “enough is enough”?

I would have sympathy for David Fothergill if he had shown some gumption in pushing back against the cuts. 

For instance, we know that there are other councils in equally dire straits financially - Northamptonshire and East Sussex, and there must be many others that we do not know about as yet. 

So why has he not made common cause with these other authorities and together made a high profile visit to Westminster to confront ministers with the stark reality that vulnerable people are already suffering because of the cuts and austerity has to stop?

This would receive considerable media attention and thereby they would have much leverage against the government. 

They could also threaten to raise Council Tax substantially - which would also be very embarrassing to the government - or refuse to set a budget.

But no - our council, led by David Fothergill, would rather impose yet more misery on the people of Somerset than risk rocking the Tory boat. 

So his crocodile tears mean nothing and he deserves all the opprobrium that he should get.

Citizens UK