TAUNTON LibDems have launched a petition calling for the government to end “council tax unfairness” and increase funding for children and adult care.

LibDem-run Somerset Council has declared a financial emergency, saying it was one of many councils facing significant pressures driven by inflation, spiralling costs and a “broken” system for local authority funding.

Somerset and its town councils are looking to raise council taxes to bridge a £100million budget gap and maintain vital services such as CCTV, town centre wardens and public toilets.

The petition has been launched by Gideon Amos, the party's parliamentary candidate for Taunton and Wellington.

He said “These massive government cuts to care - almost 60per cent according to the National Audit Office - are landing people in Taunton and Wellington with higher council tax bills as a direct result.

“The government promised in 2019 and again in 2021 to provide national funding for social care, but they’ve messed up and they’ve failed to come up with what they promised and are now dumping the costs on council tax payers.

“It’s time the Conservative government properly funded essential care and stopped forcing local council taxpayers to foot the bill for social care - something which needs national funding.

“It’s just one more stealth tax from the Conservatives following on from last year’s freezing of income tax bands, dragging millions into higher tax rates while saying they were cutting taxes.

“Some may have fallen for these Conservative tax dodges. No one is going to be fooled by the Conservatives on tax a second time.”

Taunton Deane Conservative MP Rebecca Pow said: "LibDem- run Somerset Council and the new LibDem-run Taunton Town Council need to get their houses in order before passing blame to Government and hiking council tax by unacceptable levels, affecting hard work people.

"In terms of the county, the LibDems inherited a well-run, Conservative council, which had clear plans to deliver the unitary administration, including significant reserves.

"Instead of implementing the plan immediately when they took over the council, the LibDems wasted almost a year appointing a new chief executive and failed to make the necessary changes to deliver the plan and consequent savings.

"Questions also need to be asked in terms of transparency relating to council budgets and funding before announcing draconian cuts to services. Other nearby councils such as Conservative-run Dorset and Wiltshire are successfully delivering services.

"On adult and children's social care services - government is making an additional £1billion of grant funding available to councils in 2024-25, on top of maintaining the funding guarantee, which was introduced last year to ensure every council in England sees at least a 3per cent increase in core spending power, despite the fact the inflation has fallen.”