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Proposed £29m Norfolk County Council cuts to children’s services to come under the spotlight

PUBLISHED: 12:15 16 January 2014 | UPDATED: 13:00 16 January 2014

Mick Castle, Norfolk Countu Council cabinet member for schools.

Mick Castle, Norfolk Countu Council cabinet member for schools.

Archant Norfolk Photographic © 2011

Proposed cuts to transport for students and moves to reduce the number of children looked after by Norfolk County Council will come under the spotlight next week.

Members of Norfolk County Council’s children’s services overview and scrutiny panel will meet next Thursday (January 23) to debate the Putting People First consultation, which details proposals to plug a £189m funding gap.

The 12-week consultation took place between September and December and looked at proposals to save £29m from the children’s services budget over the next three years.

The proposal which attracted most controversy was to cut the budget to subsidise transport for 16 to 19-year-olds from £2.9m to £900,000 per year, from September 2014.

Those who responded raised concerns about the impact on the numbers of young people participating in education and said the affects would be felt disproportionately in rural areas.

Mick Castle, cabinet member for schools, said: “With such a significant shortfall in funding we have had to consider reducing any discretionary services, and that includes looking at post 16 transport.

“We have been working to try to encourage government to recognise the financial impact of raising the compulsory age for education and training in a rural county like Norfolk, because our budget has been so tightly squeezed.

“I am grateful that so many people have taken the time to respond to the consultation, particularly on this specific proposal and we will take these concerns very seriously when reaching our final recommendations.”

The will make recommendations to go to the controlling cabinet.

The full council is then due to agree a budget on Monday, February 17.

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