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Norfolk County Council backs budget which it says will ‘deliver’ for residents

After months of difficult decisions and significant challenges, county councillors have backed a budget that they say “delivers for Norfolk”.

At today’s full Norfolk County Council meeting, the authority’s deputy council leader Cllr Andrew Jamieson, cabinet member for finance, said that the budget will boost the area despite major cost and demand pressures facing councils.

The county council has had to deal with a £30million overspend in adult social services and children’s services this year.

Andrew Jamieson, the deputy leader of Norfolk County Council, says the budget will ‘deliver for Norfolk’
Andrew Jamieson, the deputy leader of Norfolk County Council, says the budget will ‘deliver for Norfolk’

Following today’s meeting, residents will pay nearly 5% more in council tax, following on from a rise that size this time last year.

Some of the ways the council plans to make savings also include switching off a set number of street lights and reducing the opening hours of waste recycling centres.

Cllr Jamieson said: “Our priorities are stable and sustainable finances, well delivered public services, economic growth and protecting and enhancing Norfolk’s heritage and environment.”

He described it as a budget for the future, with an additional £60million for adult social services and £35million extra for children’s services. Savings are predicted to be made by “transforming how the council operates”.

Cllr Jamieson said that the extremely difficult local government finance situation meant the council needed to make sustainable savings.

He therefore pledged to continue to lobby the next Government for multi-year settlements, fair funding and reform of adult social care funding.

In recent months, the county council admitted it had to make “difficult decisions” to form its budget, including some that will see services cut.

A report to the authority’s scrutiny committee in October said it faced a “significant challenge” to come up with a financial plan.

Cllr Kay Mason Billig, the county council’s leader, has now said the council will continue to be ambitious after announcing its £528million budget.

She said: “We know that our residents will be concerned about the decisions we make and how that may affect them.

“This year’s budget has been one of the toughest to determine but we have a statutory duty to provide a balanced position, and that is what we are presenting to you.”

The key headlines from the budget agreed today are:

- £122million of investment to meet demand and cost pressures next year – including £34.6million for inflation, £38million for legislative requirements, £39.7million for demand and demographic issues and £9.6million for policy decisions.

- £41.5million of new savings, including £9.6million from transforming how the council operates.

- A proposed 4.99% increase in the county council’s share of council tax, in line with the Government’s capping level (2.99% for general council tax and 2% for adult social care). This would increase the council’s share of band D bills to £1,672.11. A 4.99% rise would generate £24.9million.

Some of the budget proposals have been identified as requiring consultation, as they may relate to a policy or service change.

The council’s cabinet will take decisions on these proposals in the summer, after considering the consultation results.

The budget report is available to view here.

Norfolk County Council’s share of council tax bands for 2024-2025:

- A £1,114.74

- B £1,300.53

- C £1,486.32

- D £1,672.11

- E £2,043.69

- F £2,415.27

- G £2,786.85

- H £3,344.22

Proposals that will be consulted on:

- Charging an admin fee for brokering on behalf of people who self-fund their adult social care

- Review of the adult social care non-residential charging policy – including the Minimum Income Guarantee (MIG)

- Recommissioning of social isolation and loneliness contracts

- Norfolk Record Office – pre-booking of visits and new paid services to increase income generation

- Switching off 2% of streetlights

- Recycling centres: Reduction of opening hours at some recycling centres to deliver a more consistent approach, in line with neighbouring authorities

If, following public consultation, any of the proposals are not implemented, departments will be asked to bring forward alternative savings proposals.

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