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Get ready for council tax hike in Norfolk as councillors greenlight cuts package

11:39 08 February 2016

Protestors outside County Hall at a previous cuts meeting. Photo: Steve Adams

Protestors outside County Hall at a previous cuts meeting. Photo: Steve Adams

Copyright Archant Norfolk 2016

People in Norfolk look set for a council tax increase after councillors recommended a hike to head off cuts to frontline services.

Protesters outside County Hall spreading the message on how they feel the cuts will impact on the people of Norfolk. Photo: Steve AdamsProtesters outside County Hall spreading the message on how they feel the cuts will impact on the people of Norfolk. Photo: Steve Adams

Norfolk County Council’s committees have been considering proposals which would save £123m over the next three years, as it looks to plug a £111m spending gap.

But in recommending a budget to full council for the next financial year, the authority’s policy and resources committee today ruled the most controversial cuts could be avoided if tax rises by 3.99pc.

That would still mean £42m of savings would be made next year, largely from the back office.

It is understood that could mean a number of redundancies, although the council has not put a figure on how many.

Protesters outside County Hall spreading the message on how they feel the cuts will impact on the people of Norfolk. Photo: Steve AdamsProtesters outside County Hall spreading the message on how they feel the cuts will impact on the people of Norfolk. Photo: Steve Adams

And in the following two years, a further £29.7m and £42.5m of savings will have to be made.

But a number of controversial proposals have been recommended to be abandoned. A final decision rests with full council, which meets on February 22.

If agreed it would mean:

• Fire stations which were under threat, including Heacham and one of either West Walton or Outwell, will not be closed and cuts to cover in Great Yarmouth, Gorleston and King’s Lynn would not be made.

Protesters outside County Hall spreading the message on how they feel the cuts will impact on the people of Norfolk. Photo: Steve AdamsProtesters outside County Hall spreading the message on how they feel the cuts will impact on the people of Norfolk. Photo: Steve Adams

• Proposals to take £5.1m out of Suppporting People services, which provides preventative care for vulnerable people would be ditched.

• Plans for the council to stop paying for transport for social care users, such as older people attending day services will be scrapped.

• Cuts to the council’s Historic Environment Service, including a service which identifies archaeological finds, introduce lone working at a number of museums would be avoided.

• Bank Holiday reopening of Norfolk’s recycling centres, the full time opening of Ashill, Heacham and Morningthorpe recycling centres and the reopening of Docking will be assured.

Protesters outside County Hall spreading the message on how they feel the cuts will impact on the people of Norfolk. Photo: Steve AdamsProtesters outside County Hall spreading the message on how they feel the cuts will impact on the people of Norfolk. Photo: Steve Adams

The committee recommended that the County Hall’s share of the council tax would be increased by 3.99pc, including 2pc specifically to be used for adult social care.

That would add around 88p extra a week on their council bills - the first hike in County Hall’s share in five years.

Dan Roper, Liberal Democrat deputy leader, said: “We are at a point where we can confidently say, this year, the time is right to raise the council tax, that people have said in the consultation they want services protected and we are able to do that more satisfactorily with a council tax increase.”

Before today’s meeting, there was a protest outside County Hall. Members of disability charity Equal Lives, the Fire Brigades Union, Unison and the Norfolk People’s Assembly had urged councillors against cuts.

Protesters outside County Hall spreading the message on how they feel the cuts will impact on the people of Norfolk. Photo: Steve AdamsProtesters outside County Hall spreading the message on how they feel the cuts will impact on the people of Norfolk. Photo: Steve Adams

And during the meeting, there were angry outbursts from members of the public, who accused councillors of being “in a bubble” and not understanding the impact of their cuts.

7 comments

  • one poster with the words stop discriminating . Another poster with the words second class citizens said it all about the cuts norfolk county council are bringing in . We have got to stand up and fight a council and a government who cannot find money for its own people yet can quickly find billions for people coming into the country .

    Report this comment

    billy smith

    Monday, February 8, 2016

  • We have district councils (Breckland where I live) and Country Councils yet whenever there has been any kind of an election I have not seen a single representative from any party and at any level (Parish, District, County or national) to ask how I believe the money I pay in taxes is spent. Save money and cut the number of councils and councillors. While on the subject lets get rid of another myth - the fact that Council tax bills have to rise frequently. The population of Norfolk has increased significantly in recent times which means that the number of Council payers and revenue generated must have increased as well. While some council services may have had to escalate to cope with the increase (in population) many things have not increased to cope with extra demand. In essence the revenue raised has increased due to the larger population but the services have not, where is all the money going?

    Report this comment

    Lord 'Elp-Us

    Monday, February 8, 2016

  • Can we cut down the number of councillors...nobody votes for them anyway (what was the turnout?) and have a simpler streamlined and less wasteful system. Perhaps I'm dreaming.

    Report this comment

    Normal4Norfolk

    Monday, February 8, 2016

  • Gosh that is a surprise! After all the (propaganda) savage cuts that were threatened, many of them will not now take place. And what is more they will start to cut waste. How much more waste is there waiting to be cut? And now start trying to get value for money. However with cuts of less than 3% on a budget of £1.4g, council tax will now rise by just under 4%!

    Report this comment

    andy

    Monday, February 8, 2016

  • Don't forget the £700000 paid to Age UK to top pensions but probably went to Eon.

    Report this comment

    Nakita Ponnly

    Monday, February 8, 2016

  • Let`s just hope no more of our money will be squandered bailing out pension funds, on compensation for a non existent incinerator, on the Postwick nightmare and on the NDR - the road to no where. Just think how much better off we would have been had the people in county hall not squandered our money away on failed projects. Our money has long gone; but I suspect that those responsible for these terrible decisions are still in the employ of the council or drawing a good pension.

    Report this comment

    Hereandthere

    Monday, February 8, 2016

  • "That would still mean £42m of savings would be made next year, largely from the back office. " If there is so much pork in the back office why not cut it now and use the money saved to build cycle paths and roads to nowhere?

    Report this comment

    Nakita Ponnly

    Monday, February 8, 2016

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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