SEVERAL members of the public lined up to protest against the cuts outside the Bridgwater venue, and several had the chance to speak when the meeting got under way.

Martin Paikes, who lives in the Coal Orchard area of Taunton, said councils were “being starved of adequate funding” by Westminster and the latest cuts “could see the end of local government as we know it.”

He also criticised the Lib Dem administration on the council for “not being angry enough” about this situation and using “Orwellian doublespeak” to disguise the impact the cuts to jobs and services would have.

He said: “How can any self-respecting councillor put their name to this vision? They should be ashamed of themselves.

“Our council should stand up and take direct action, working with the trade unions and other authorities to fight this.”

Estelle Smillie, chairman of the Taunton and Wellington Labour Party, described the current council tax system as “preposterous”.

She added: “Please negotiate with the national government about extending council tax beyond band H so those with the broadest shoulders help out more.

“Those who are capital rich but revenue poor can still attract tax rebates.”

Glastonbury resident Eva Bryczkowski – who has campaigned against the loss of health services in eastern Somerset for many years – said: “All this lobbying by councils of the Conservative government has patently failed for over 13 years.

“Instead of reluctantly inflicting suffering (similar to what the Lib Dems did during the coalition, because Nick Clegg wanted his feet under the table), stop relying solely on lobbying this uncaring government, which has only ever given peanuts to struggling councils.

“Who among you will take a principled stand and resign, rather than implement cuts, and fight? It’s the only way forward.”

After the budget was approved, council leader Cllr Bill Revans said: “Since declaring a financial emergency in response to the soaring cost of social care, we have done everything in our power to avoid a S114 notice. 

“We have looked at all our non-statutory services to find savings and have taken a series of heart-breaking and unpalatable decisions, including cuts to services, increases to Council Tax, fees and charges, spending reserves, selling assets and property, and embarking on a top-to-bottom transformation programme which will reduce the size of our workforce by more than 20 per cent.”

He added: “Today we have set a balanced budget but it is clear that we have a broken model for funding local government and social care which urgently needs a national solution.”