4th August 2021

County Council invests £70m in improving lives in Somerset

Somerset County Council is investing more than £70 million over the next three years in projects that will help improve residents’ everyday lives.

The capital programme budget, approved by Full Council, brings spending on both large and smaller schemes, to £213m when investments announced for the current financial year are taken into account.

The boost to a wide range of council services includes £3.1m for innovative adult social care initiatives such as £1m to provide homes for people in Somerset with complex needs. Another £500,000 will be invested in supported living schemes for adults with mental health needs or learning disabilities.

Children’s services will see around £18m invested over the next two years. This includes £4.5m on maintaining and improving school buildings and £2m on special education provision in West Somerset.

More than £3m is being invested in projects to help the county council meet its aspiration to become carbon neutral including investments in energy generation projects, reducing the carbon footprint at Bridgwater and Minehead libraries and smart meter technology in council buildings.

Some £8m is earmarked for upgrading ageing traffic signals countywide, £1m for small road improvement schemes put forward by local councillors and £1.2m on road safety schemes.

The cost of investment is being met from a variety of capital funding sources including Government grants. This is money that can only be spent on fixed assets such as buildings and roads, it cannot be spent on the day-to-day running costs of council services which have to be met from the Council’s revenue budget.

The Council considers carefully all capital projects to make sure that they will improve lives, reduce costs or generate income to merit significant investment.

Cllr Mandy Chilcott, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Resources, said: “We are continuing to invest in Somerset and its residents. This has never been more important as we start to take the first steps on the road to recovery from the unprecedented challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic.

“We are looking to the future to make sure that Somerset, its people and its businesses continue to thrive.”

Details of the capital programme can be found here: http://democracy.somerset.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=137&MId=970