More cash for Norfolk County Council ahead of budget meeting

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Norfolk county councillors will have slightly more money to spend than originally thought when the authority’s budget is set next week.

Papers published ahead of a full council meeting on Monday, where the settlement will be debated, have revealed that around an extra £227,000 can be allocated to services during the 2015-16 financial year.

The extra cash has been found after the county was allocated around £1.15 million more money than expected in its funding settlement, though most has been balanced by lower than expected business rate returns.

Peter Timmins, the council’s head of finance, said the additional money had come from a £74 million government package designed to help meet welfare and social care needs.

But he added: “It is currently included within the Finance General Budget, pending the decision of members as to how it should be used.

In total, members have been encouraged to approve a recommended revenue budget of almost £318.5 million next year, around £10 million more than this year.

Around £12.5 million more money has been allocated to children’s services, while more than £7 million has been cut from adult social care funding. However, that remains the largest portion of the council’s spending.

Elsewhere, around £1.2 million more money has been allocated to environment, development and transport services, with much of that being drawn from the sale of County Farms land near Acle.

Councillors have already recommended that cash is put towards improvements to the A47 in that area, while lobbying continues to fund future works in West Norfolk.

And more than £2.5 million has also been taken out of the budget for community services.

The papers also reveal that West Norfolk residents will make the largest financial contribution towards county services through council tax.

More than £54 million is expected to be collected from residents in the borough, around £3 million more than the next highest contributors in South Norfolk.

However, the gap reflects the larger number of people living in the borough who pay the tax, rather than individual residents here paying any more for council services.