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Warning over Norfolk County Council’s £40m gap

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County council leaders have pleaded for certainty over future funding as Norfolk seeks ways of meeting a financial shortfall worth tens of millions of pounds.

A report presented to the authority’s new -look cabinet on Monday warned £40 million of savings are likely to be required next year, on top of the spending reductions already made in recent years.

Senior officials have recently held talks with government ministers on the issue.

But the meeting was told they were still no clearer about what any future arrangements might look like.

Deputy leader Graham Plant said: “We’re still working off one-off grants and spending.

“We need to have a long-term financial plan in place.”

Performance portfolio holder Tom FitzPatrick added: “Given the constraints that have been put on this and other councils over the past few years, to achieve what we’ve done and continue to provide services, I think, is a testament to the willingness of the staff and members to work for the good of the community.

“It’s something to be commended, not something to draw adverse conclusions from.”

Norfolk County Council's headquarters
Norfolk County Council's headquarters

The report allocated half of the expected savings to departmental budgets, with £10 million listed under business transformation and corporate finance respectively.

The biggest single departmental savings target is the £9 million listed for adult social care, with community and environmental services expected to find £5 million and children’s services £4.5 million.

Council leader Andrew Proctor said: “We have still got a sigmificant financial gap for the next two years. What’s being looked at is the way this could be approached.”

However, financial questions for the period after next year have been put on hold for now until the funding situation becomes clearer.

The meeting was the first to take place since the cabinet system of governance was formally reintroduced at County Hall earlier this month.

The authority had operated under a committee system, introduced by the Labour-led administration, since 2014.

The meetings are also being filmed and streamed via YouTube and social media platforms.

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