TWO councils in Somerset say the Government's decision to award them £750,000 is proof they were right to join up and share services.

West Somerset and Taunton Deane Councils have received the money from the Department for Communities and Local Government, which said they had demonstrated a “commitment to delivering transformational changes to the way that you work through innovation”.

Last year, the councils missed out on receiving funds.

In a joint statement, council leaders John Williams (Taunton Deane) and Tim Taylor (West Somerset) said: “This is tremendous news and shows that we were right in having the courage and determination to turn a proposal into reality in the space of a year with the added benefit of substantial savings for both councils.

“The fact that the Government is awarding us such a significant sum at a time of austerity is proof that what we are doing is right for the communities that we serve.

“It makes absolute sense that we work with one team of senior management and officers while remaining democratically independent.”

The councils say the money will help fund 'key investments that will enable the two authorities to work together.'

The decision to work together was made at the end of last year and both authorities are looking for opportunities to widen the partnership further.