County Hall leaders have confirmed they plan to freeze their share of the council tax next year and spend £8m to help some of the most vulnerable people in Norfolk.

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But Norfolk County Council is also planning to make another £34m of savings, while trade unions said it did not make sense to freeze council tax for the third year in a row.

The budget proposed by leaders at Norfolk County Council, which will be considered by the council’s cabinet on Monday, plans to spend around £1.5bn to provide services.

Along with spending £95m on capital projects, such as schools and highways, the budget includes £8m of one-off funding, drawn from reserves and a government grant for freezing council tax. That will be spent on:

£500,000 towards a £5m five-year project to support prevention services for older people, including training volunteers to visit the vulnerable to encourage them to use services and prevent them being isolated;

£1m more for the council’s community construction fund, which enables communities to bid for projects such as new community centres;

£1m for highways improvements requested by parish councils and another £1m for other road schemes;

£1m over two years for extra investment in school improvement work;

£3.5m to support vulnerable children and families.

Bill Borrett, acting leader of the council (pictured), said: “The budget sets out to support Norfolk’s most vulnerable people, especially our older people and children, while giving a high priority to supporting jobs and the economy.

“Decisive action and sound financial management over the last two years is allowing us to propose an additional £8m of one-off spending to support vital services, and to invest in projects closest to the hearts of our communities. At the same time, we are proposing a council tax freeze for a third year. This is not the time to ask hard-pressed families and people on fixed incomes to pay even more.”

But Jonathan Dunning, branch secretary for trade union Unison, hit out at the council tax freeze. He said: “Such an approach denies Norfolk County Council essential ongoing revenue income to deliver critical public services to the most vulnerable members of the public. Unison believes it is more important to increase income to fund services than to offer everyone a negligible financial benefit from a council tax freeze.”

The budget also includes £34.2m of savings, including staff cuts in libraries, the record office and the adult education service, along with changes to day services.

13 comments

  • And what about the rest of the borough and parish dictators (sorry councils) then ?.

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    "V"

    Wednesday, January 23, 2013

  • Use up the reserves? They've got bags in reserves, hundreds of millions actually, from years of under-spending, or should I say years of over-charging?

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    Mr Cameron Isaliar

    Wednesday, January 23, 2013

  • This £8M is a blatant attempt at electioneering. Remember the 'Big Conversation'? This lot have already made very deep cuts to services so this £8M is a drop in the ocean but big enought to grab a headline. Local government needs drastic reform if it is to deliver quality services as efficiently as possible. We should get rid of all district councils in Norfolk and this would save in the region of £4M in councillor expenses alone. A Unitary Authority with more powers for Parish & Town Councils could be very effective. This was recently suggested by Michael Heseltine who said that millions could be saved across the country by doing this. The public want councils to provide good quality basic services not 'enterprising' councils led by clueless wonders like Borrett and Jordan. Another radical suggestion that would save money on red tape and inefficiency would be to take away social services from councils and amalgamate this with the NHS to provide a 'joined up' approach to care for the sick and vulnerable. 'V' Parish Councillors are elected by the people of their village and almost all of them do this with no financial reward whatsoever. Many of them work very hard for their communities. I know a lot of district and county councillors who could learn a lot from the work of parishes. 'Catty' you have a choice to either stay in 'tax 'em high' Dereham or move to a forward thinking low tax village with good quality facilities. Don't keep moaning about it move or stand for election yourself next time. I think you would be great!

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    BigX

    Thursday, January 24, 2013

  • That's not quite true though is it? How many families in Norfolk are about to be hit by a cut in the benefit they receive for council tax? Their bills will be rocketing this year.

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    Jeffrey Osborne

    Wednesday, January 23, 2013

  • This is what Pickles has ordered this shambolic bunch to do. Keep using their reserves until they are used up. Then the next tax hike will be about 50% and tough on you if you are poor and in need of the services of the Council. They wont provide it. It is not just Norfolk. Every council in Britain has been ordered to do it and some have refused.

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    Electra

    Wednesday, January 23, 2013

  • BG they will have to pay £300 here and that is while there is a grant to keep costs low. Next year it will be more! This is the poorest in society who cannot afford a pound more.

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    Jeffrey Osborne

    Wednesday, January 23, 2013

  • I think we have come to the end of the line now and a small rise is now needed. If you keep on bodging things up it only cost more in the long run to do a, "proper job." Bills will not be rocketing for families in receipt of benefits as omnishambles alleges. It looks as if they will have to pay on average a £1 or so a week. The trouble in Norfolk is that we have so many people who do not contribute anything whatsoever towards council tax. Because we have so many families who are solely or mainly dependent on benefits for their income. The only fair way is for everyone to make a contribution, however small, towards council tax.

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    BG

    Wednesday, January 23, 2013

  • Why is this story being re-run? Its a con for votes and nothing more.

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    Police Commissioner ???

    Thursday, January 24, 2013

  • I say, what jolly good gimmicks. Is there an election soon?

    Report this comment

    Mr Cameron Isaliar

    Wednesday, January 23, 2013

  • Whatever cuts are applied should start with those who want to change the council to a more, business like structure, to slim it down to a professional core. That means letting go of redundant gardeners making cosy decisions on multi million contracts and educationalists better versed in American history than business, they could always find another meaningful job.

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    ingo wagenknecht

    Wednesday, January 23, 2013

  • At least they're not 'Doing A Dereham' and putting their portion up by 70%. Thank goodness for small mercies!

    Report this comment

    Catty

    Wednesday, January 23, 2013

  • Use up the reserves? Not likely. They've got bags in reserves, hundreds of millions actually, from years of under-spending, or should I say years of over-charging you poor tax payers?

    Report this comment

    Mr Cameron Isaliar

    Wednesday, January 23, 2013

  • Use up the reserves? They've got bags in reserves, hundreds of millions actually, from years of under-spending, or should I say years of over-charging?

    Report this comment

    Mr Cameron Isaliar

    Wednesday, January 23, 2013

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