SENDING Government commissioners in to run Somerset Council would be a disaster for the county, MP Ian Liddell-Grainger has warned.

The authority is facing a massive budget deficit with cuts in both services and jobs now likely.

But if it declares itself bankrupt, it would be placed under direct Government control.

Speaking on Tuesday (January 30) in a Westminster Hall debate on council funding in Somerset, Mr Liddell-Grainger told MPs he had had experience of commissioners being called on to run the former West Somerset district council - and knew full well what the outcome would be.

“I know it is an absolute disaster,” he said.

“If they come in to Somerset, I can tell honourable Members exactly what will happen.

"They will shut the recycling centres, stop the buses and pull back on the funding for roads, for the most vulnerable and for many others.

“No matter what we do - Parliamentarians, councillors or anyone else; parishes, towns or whatever - it will make no difference at all.

“None of us wants the council to go into special measures.”

All Somerset MPs are pleading for extra Government cash for the council, which declared a financial emergency in November when it became clear it was facing a £70million cost increase for providing adult social care.

Some additional funding has been provided, but not enough to stave off a looming crisis.

But Mr Liddell-Grainger, MP for Bridgwater and West Somerset, said the county needs to be granted an extra tranche of levelling-up money.

“Somerset has not done very well out of levelling up,” he said. “Levelling up would help immeasurably.

"What we need to look at is the learning of skills, rural deprivation, helping young people get on to the job ladder in rural areas - that covers the whole of Somerset.

“We have to work together to get the funding we need to stabilise the situation, and this cannot wait until after the election.”