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County considering hiking council tax and further cuts to services

Norfolk County Council is considering a 3.99 per cent council tax rise and new savings of £15.8 million next year as it warned that additional Government money will be “substantially absorbed by ongoing demand and demographic pressures”.

The council has already agreed to save £31.1 million next year. Now, the cabinet is to consider £15.8 million of new savings for 2020-21 and proposals for up until 2023-24.

Consultation will take place over the autumn, before the Government confirms the council’s funding in December and the full council takes a final decision to set a budget in February.

Norfolk County Council's headquarters, where calls for DIY waste recycling charges to be scrapped are set to be debated next week (17802614)
Norfolk County Council's headquarters, where calls for DIY waste recycling charges to be scrapped are set to be debated next week (17802614)

Andrew Jamieson, cabinet member for finance, said: “While I welcome additional Government money – including a predicted £17 million grant for children’s and adults social care – it’s still not enough to meet our spending needs.

“After nearly a decade of making savings, we still face rising demand for services and continued uncertainty over future funding. That’s why I’m proposing a series of prudent measures to balance the books.”

The key proposals are:

A council tax rise of 3.99 per cent next year, in line with Government expectations – 1.99 per cent for all services and two per cent through the Government’s adult social care precept. A 3.99 per cent increase would see the county council’s share of band D bills rise by £54.27, to £1,416.51.

New savings and increased income of £15.8 million next year, rising to a total of £29.9million over four years

Proposed new savings or increased income, per department, 2020/21:

Adult social services: £7.2m – including saving £3.75 million by increasing reablement, which helps people regain independence after being in hospital

Children's services: £3.8m – including saving £3.5 million by commissioning new care for children, with better outcomes and lower costs

Community and environmental services:£1.9m – including saving £250,000 by renegotiating highways contracts

Strategy and governance department: £500,000 – including saving £320,000 through income generation and vacancy management

Finance and commercial services and finance general:£800,000 – including raising an extra £500,000 from organisational change budgets

Business transformation: £1.6m through making the council’s processes more streamlined

The council has budgeted to save £395m since 2011-12. Over that time, its funding from the Government has reduced by £220m and cost pressures have risen by £440m.

The £31.1 million already agreed in cuts include £17.3 million for adult social services.

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