“[Somerset] COUNTY Hall has been rocked by the resignation of the top two councillors in charge of overseeing its finances amid claims it will run out of money later this year.
Audit committee chairman Cllr Dean Ruddle and his deputy Cllr Neil Bloomfield both stood down yesterday (Wednesday). Fellow committee member Cllr Mike Rigby said he believes they have quit to avoid being “left holding the baby”.
The move comes in the week that council leader Cllr David Fothergill denied claims Conservative-led Somerset County Council was on the brink of bankruptcy. He told the County Gazette the authority faces huge financial pressures but was not about to issue a 114 notice, which warns of insufficient funds to pay its bills.
Mr Rigby said: “I’ve been concerned for some time that our budgets are being continually slashed by central government to the point where we can no longer meet our legal duties. “I had thought that we could make it into next year as a council without running out of money. “But after recent developments, I’m not now convinced we can make it that far, despite the emergency spending measures put in place at County Hall. “I’m not surprised that the chairman and vice-chairman have decided to go. Who wants to be left holding this baby?
“It’s about time that our Conservative administration stops supporting the government until the government undertakes a proper review of government finance.”
Cllr Claire Aparicio Paul and Cllr Gemma Verdon have been appointed as chairman and vice-chairman of the audit committee respectively.”