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Norfolk County Council pleads for 'sustainable' social care funding from government

Norfolk County Council leaders have renewed their plea for sustainable funding of adult social care, amid fears the authority will have to make almost £40m of savings next year.

The Conservative-controlled authority says it needs to find just over £39m of savings next year – or £47.8m if they were to make the unlikely decision to freeze council tax.

The issue was examined during a meeting at County Hall yesterday.

Norfolk County Council's headquarters, where calls for DIY waste recycling charges to be scrapped are set to be debated next week (44788324)
Norfolk County Council's headquarters, where calls for DIY waste recycling charges to be scrapped are set to be debated next week (44788324)

And current savings projections include £17.7m from adult social services and £8.7m from children’s services.

Andrew Jamieson, cabinet member for finance, told colleagues that Covid and rising care costs were of “huge concern” for next year's budget.

“We still wait for a suitable long-term solution to the provision of adult social care,” he said.

Andrew Jamieson
Andrew Jamieson

“Local government funding cannot be sustainable until the funding of adult social care is sustainable.”

Mr Jamieson added a solution to this “critical and ever-increasing problem is long overdue.”

The cabinet member described putting up council tax by 1.99 per cent as “almost centrally mandated”.

Council leader Andrew Proctor said the budget pressures could not be entirely supported by either council tax increases or savings and there would have to be a balance.

Andrew Proctor. (44831638)
Andrew Proctor. (44831638)

He echoed Mr Jamieson’s calls for adult social care funding from central government and said he had written to Sajid Javid, the new health minister, to remind him of the need.

A green paper on social care reform has been delayed time and time again, to the frustration of politicians from all parties.

In his letter, Mr Proctor invited Mr Javid to come to Norfolk to see how the council and the wider health system had supported the government’s work to combat Covid-19.

Cabinet members agreed to a series of recommendations, including closing the £39m budget gap in 2022-23, review the budget risks and implications of announcements made in the spring budget, and the proposed approach to budget setting.

Details of cuts have yet to be decided, with a public consultation expected in October.

Proposed savings for next year, per department, are:

Adult Social Services: £17.700m

Children’s Services: £8.700m

Community and Environmental Services: £8.700m

Finance and Commercial Services: £1.800m

Finance General: £1.300m

Governance: £0.400m

Strategy and Transformation: £0.500m

Total savings target: £39.100m

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