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Free Christmas parking scrapped in Somerset amid ‘financial emergency’

FREE parking at Somerset car parks in the run-up to Christmas has been axed this year – in a bid to save around £50,000.

In previous years, parking was free at most council-run sites in a bid to boost business for traders in the festive season.

However, 2023 has seen the new Somerset Council – which has replaced the previous district councils – declare a ‘financial emergency’ as it bids to deal with a budget shortfall of up to £100 million.

And it has emerged one victim of moves to save cash has been the dropping of free parking before Christmas.

A council spokesperson said: “While we would like to be able to offer free parking in the county over the pre-Christmas period, given the current financial climate we are not able to do so this year – we anticipate this would cost about £50,000.

“Our Executive recently declared a financial emergency in response to soaring costs and demands for services.

“This means we are reviewing all spending, including free Christmas parking to ensure we can continue to protect our core services and look after people in need.”

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