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Budget shortfall reduced, but Norfolk County Council still facing £16 million financial hole, says report

Norfolk County Council leaders say the shortfall in their finances caused by the coronavirus has fallen, though they are still facing a multi-million pound overspend this year.

The authority had previously warned of a near £20 million hole in its finances caused by lost income and the costs of the response to the pandemic.

But new documents, published ahead of a cabinet meeting next week, say that figure has dropped to £18.1 million and is expected to fall further, to around £15.8 million, by the end of the current financial year.

Norfolk County Council headquarters (3027764)
Norfolk County Council headquarters (3027764)

And Andrew Jamieson, the authority's cabinet member for finance, maintains the problem can be solved.

He said: “I have been upfront about the financial challenges that all county councils are facing and that’s why we are urging the Government to provide sustainable funding.

“Our track record of managing these pressures means I’m confident we will be able to balance the books this year – buying us time for the Government to make some key decisions.”

Most of the overspend, around £10 million, is forecast to be in adult social care, while officials say the council's children's services department is predicting it will balance its books.

A separate report, released ahead of the cabinet meeting next Monday, July 6, reveals plans for a £7.7 million strategic fund to help stimulate the county's economy.

The county council, district authorities and the New Anglia local enterprise partnership, are expected to contribute.

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