Council tax bills and parking charges will be frozen by local authorities again even as they continue to slash millions off budgets.
Norfolk County Council proposes to take up the Government incentive not to increase council tax while it plans to make savings of £34 million in the coming year.
Bill Borrett, acting leader of Norfolk County Council, said: “These budget proposals reflect the difficult times we live in, not only for councils and the national economy, but for local businesses and our residents.
“The budget sets out to support Norfolk’s most vulnerable people, especially our older people and children, while giving a high priority to supporting jobs and the economy through targeted spending designed to help support local businesses .”
The council announced £8 million of one-off spending to offset the pain. It includes support for a voluntary service to help the elderly avoid isolation and £1 million of grants for community construction projects, like village halls. There is also an additional £1 million for road improvement and the same amount is set aside for youth projects and to raise standards in schools.
Norfolk County Council has already stripped away £105 million of spending in the last two years through staff and services cuts and efficiency savings.
Included in the savings plan for the coming year is a further £14.7 million reduction in children’s services spending. Some of the savings will come from the ongoing impact of cutting things like free college transport while new cost-cutting measures include, finding “efficiencies” in looking after and re-homing children in care.
More than £11 million is to be taken out of the adult’s services pot. Budgets for supporting people with mental health problems to live independently and ensuring all those entitled to free personal care receive it are amongst those to be squeezed.
Savings will also come from reducing staffing in libraries and the adult education service and knocking out pay rises for council staff.
West Norfolk Council is also proposing to freeze its proportion of the council tax bill as well as parking charges.
Nick Daubney, leader, said: “We, as most councils, really have to examine everything we do to make sure we are delivering it in the most cost effective way possible.”
Norfolk Police is asking for a 2 per cent rise in its share of council tax - equivalent to £3.84 per year for a Band D home.