"COUNCIL tax just doesn't cover the services we need to provide."

This is the justification the leader of Somerset West and Taunton Council has given after more than £2million was spent buying a historic town centre building.

The council has purchased the iconic Gaumont Theatre building, which currently houses Mecca Bingo, in a £2.1million investment deal.

READ MORE: Mecca Bingo building bought by council in £2.1 million deal

Residents unfamiliar with how financial decisions are made in the council might be asking why money is being spent on buildings, while the town struggles with issues such as homelessness and empty shops.

In a bid to explain the decision, council leader Federica Smith-Roberts spelled out the reasoning behind the investment.

She said: "The opportunity arose so the council could purchase the Gaumont Theatre in Taunton.

"It's a historic building, it had lots of brilliant acts play here in the past.

"But actually, for the council, this was about the commercial investment strategy that we are looking to build.

"It provides us with a return on our investment so we could look to perhaps fund that into additional services.

"Our council tax, that I pay as a resident within the district, doesn't cover all the services that we need to provide you, and us.

"We look now to look at other opportunities as to how we can raise funds, because we are not getting the money from central government that we need to provide those services, that has been drastically cut over the previous decade.

"So opportunities such as investing in this iconic building, The Gaumont, mean that we can look to provide the services you expect from us, give grants out to local charities, local organisations, such as the CAB, such as the Brewhouse, so that they can continue to be funded, because council tax, ultimately, doesn't fund that."