December 4 2013 Latest news:
Saturday, September 21, 2013
The government has defended the funding it gives Norfolk County Council as an anti-cuts group called for “every concerned citizen” in the county to oppose £140m of cuts announced by the administration.
The council this week unveiled a series of planned cuts in services, with social care for older people, transport for students, mobile libraries, school crossing patrols and help for people just out of hospital all in the firing line.
The recently-created Norfolk People’s Alliance called on all Norfolk people to oppose every cut, not just in the council’s own consultation, but on the streets and in councillors’ constituency meetings and offices.
Norfolk People’s Assembly publicity officer David Peel said: “You, your loved ones, your friends and your neighbours are today in the front line of these unjust, unfair and unnecessary cuts.
“Our most vulnerable and elderly, the young, disabled and the disadvantaged should not continue to suffer for a crisis they did not cause and for the failed policies of this government.
“And where is the local opposition to cuts? You won’t find it at County Hall, save among a very few councillors with the integrity to stand up for their constituents suffering already from the last cuts, and now set to suffer much more.
“The official opposition to the cuts in Norfolk today is with the people of Norfolk, and the recently launched Norfolk People’s Assembly, a powerful and growing alliance of anti bedroom tax and other campaigners, trade unionists fighting for our public services and above all, local people.”
The council has said it is facing a £189m funding gap, created by a £91m cut in the amount of money it gets from the government, and increased demand for public services.
A spokesman for the Department for Communities and Local Government said: “Councils account for a quarter of all public spending and are forecast to spend £102bn this year – billions more than last year. Every bit of the public sector needs to keep doing its bit to pay off the inherited deficit.
“This government has secured a good deal for councils, including freezing council tax for a further two years and £3.8bn for adult social care.
“Funding is fair to all parts of the country – rural and urban, north and south, metropolitan and shire – ensuring the smallest reductions for the councils most reliant on government support and it will reward councils that strive to improve their communities.
“This year Norfolk has a spending power of £1,719 per household which is more than the national average funding for county councils.”
He added: “There is more councils like Norfolk can do to recover the £2bn a year of uncollected council tax, reduce the £2bn lost to fraud and error and use £19bn of reserves they hold to reduce waste and protect frontline services. “
He added that Norfolk County Council had reserves of £162m. The county council average spending power per person is below Norfolk’s at £1,639.