A TAUNTON man has started a petition in protest at council tax being tripled by the town council.

David Orr has accused Taunton Town Council of bailing out bankruptcy-threatened Somerset Council by hiking its share of the average Band D local tax bill from £109.60 to £299.30.

"Taunton Town Council LibDems shouldn't bail out their LibDem colleagues on Somerset Council, who haven't shown sound financial management or any control of their budgets," said Mr Orr.

He is urging people to write to Taunton Deane's Conservative MP Rebecca Pow to voice their anger.

He added: "Do you believe the forecasts from Somerset Council of a £100million budget shortfall when their numbers have not been independently audited and verified?

READ MORE: Taunton Town Council hikes council tax 200 per cent.

"Valued public services with modest budgets like toilets, CCTV and recycling centres are to be cut, when internal efficiency savings have yet to be made, whilst financial management and budget forecasting in this new Somerset super council does not command public confidence.

"It is time that these budget forecasts and tax rise proposals are put to the public in a referendum.

"In good conscience, how could anyone vote for the current cuts, whilst so many questions as to how this new super council got into this parlous state 'out of the blue', remain unanswered?"

Mr Orr has also written an open letter to town council leader Cllr Tom Deakin.

In it Mr Orr says: "I was staggered to see a trebling of council tax with a rise in the Taunton Town Council precept of nearly 200%.

"Your egregious precept rise appears to be a party-political attempt to bail out your LibDem colleagues at the new Somerset super council.

"Would you have made this massive and unjustified 200% precept rise if the Conservatives had been running Somerset Council or would you have left them to their fate?

"For example, I have been told by Somerset Council that there have been no discussions on whether poorly maintained foot and cycle paths across Taunton would transfer to the Town Council for maintenance and repair.


"How then could you possibly set this huge 200% precept rise when you have no idea of which Somerset Council services you will take on and what they cost?

"To the people of Taunton, it looks as if you have used the loophole that town councils don’t have to hold referendums for rises of more than 5%, while Somerset Council does.

"Using the principle of 'no taxation without representation', I challenge you, as LibDems, to hold a referendum on your precept rise detailing whether people will get any more than now for a lot more money."