COUNTY Hall has been accused of spending money on “ridiculous window dressing” after forked out £40,786 asking people how it could save money.

Somerset County Council has been running an on-line game called Balancing Act and Listening, Learning, Changing roadshows asking for views on how council tax should be spent, but The TaxPayers’ Alliance has slammed the scheme after a Freedom of Information request revealed that the design, build, advertising and agency fee for the game totalled £15,000, the roadshows cost £15,671 and staff costs amounted to £10,115.

Alliance campaign director Robert Oxley said: “If Somerset County Council wants to save money, scrapping this ridiculous PR exercise would have been a good place to start.

“After a decade of council tax rises local authorities have to find savings in every budget just like families have had to.

“Keeping council tax low and focusing resources on frontline services is the best way for the council to engage with local people, not this ridiculous window dressing.”

A county spokesman said: “We’re delighted to promote awareness of the Balancing Act, which is still available at

“Roadshows across Somerset were enthusiastically taken up by many thousands of residents, giving the council a clear idea of which services the public value most and where the council could bring in charges or hand over to communities to run.

“We thank those who have taken part – their views have already been used to shape the council’s highlevel County Plan stra-tegic document and influence spending decisions as councillors set this year’s budget.

"The entire exercise was warmly welcomed by politicians of all parties, and we believe it has been the most successful engagement and consultation exercise the council has carried out.”