It was announced this week that Somerset County Council is going to shed 50% of it's workforce in Taunton. There is understandable doom and gloom in the local press and I imagine those for the chop will be feeling bloody terrible about it. This is compounded because the two big central government departments that operate there are also laying people off - so 40% of the local economy is derived from government work of one kind or another (although I don't know if that figure includes 40 Cdo based just outside the town). While I have every sympathy with those about to become jobless I am speechless that the County Council was, in effect 100% overmanned in that area (I know its not that simple, but if they reckon they can operate at 50% strength then they were very obviously overmanned). The real gripper though is that while they were so overmanned the roads and schools were allowed to fall into a terrible state. My kids school has leaks in the ceiling and rot in much of the wood, yet the council gave them some new window frames two years ago and said that was all they could afford. I have always had a major problem with fat government leaching from private enterprise to fund itself, but this really takes the cake. Since 1997 the state has eaten up all the tax money and other incomes, borrowed yet more and then printed money to keep the whole thing afloat and now I find that they were running at close to 100% overstaffing levels. Its not the fault of the individual who sees a way to earn a living - if they don't take the job then someone will. And I also know it is the lower paid who will get the push first, but how on earth was it ever allowed to get to that level? I suspect this must be the case all over the country - anyone else got any light to shed on the size of the problem? And don't get me started on Council Executive pay - thats just bloody scandalous.