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.
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.