Union leaders have urged Norfolk county councillors to increase the authority’s share of the council tax - to save services from the axe.

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The council is due to agree its budget next month and the controlling Labour/Liberal Democrat administration has said its planning has been for a council tax freeze.

But Jonathan Dunning, county branch secretary of UNISON said they should think about an increase, with cuts to services looming as the authority looks to plug an £189m gap.

He said: “No one wants to see any bill increase at this difficult time but the alternative will see the meltdown of some essential services.

“The recent public consultation showed that a majority of respondents supported the increase if it protected adult social care services and libraries.

Already many Councillors have expressed support for a council tax increase. We now hope others will do the same in recognition that it is a sound economic decision designed to help with Norfolk County Council’s long term financial viability.

“Another council tax freeze will, in UNISON’s view, be a head in the sand approach and will push Norfolk County Council further down the road to ruin.”

Among the proposed cuts which UNISON is particularly concerned about are reduction of staff in libraries and cuts to adult social services.

While the council’s administration previously said it was minded not to increase council tax - but to accept a grant from the government for freezing it, the recent delay to the decision on whether to allow planning permission for an incinerator in King’s Lynn has put extra pressure on the budget.

Council leader George Nobbs, in a recent letter to communities secretary Eric Pickles, who will make the decision on the burner, hinted the authority could have to rethink its stance on a council tax freeze.

With the authority needing to factor in a compensation payment of between £26m and £31m if the incinerator is not given planning permission, Mr Nobbs said the council faced “very real and immediate difficulties”.

He said: “To date, we have not assumed any extra income from council tax, because that is not something that we want to do.

“However, we certainly do want to avoid any further service cuts for Norfolk people if we can possibly do so. But the simple fact is that until we know for certain what scenario we have to plan for, we have no choice but to assume the worst.”

Council tax bills are made up of elements which go to the county council (including for the fire service), the police, district councils and, where applicable, parish or town councils.

The county council is due to set its budget on Monday, February 17.

31 comments

  • NO, but Johnathan could start a massive campaing to reinstate the senior managment review, why doesn't he? By having very little to say about the issues that matter to voters, unions have showed their lack of social respopnsibility, they are out to represent themselves and their decreasing membership.

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    ingo wagenknecht

    Friday, January 17, 2014

  • Mr Dunning - NCC needs to get more for our bucks through rationalisation. Keep the freeze on council tax!

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    DWW25

    Thursday, January 16, 2014

  • these are the unions who supported the labour party as it wrecked this country financially . We will never recover from the terror of thirteen years of labour goverment

    Report this comment

    milecross

    Thursday, January 16, 2014

  • There are far to many staff at county hall anyway. 1000 jobs could go and nobody would notice. I know its rough for the staff but it's public money for public services.

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    Sweet cheeks

    Thursday, January 16, 2014

  • Sweet cheeks, what about cutting some of the councillors too? The Council's website shows that in the last financial year the 84 of them were paid a total of £1.1 million in allowances and expenses. That's almost £100,000 a month! Then there's the 300 or so district councillors as well, presumably also on similar allowances and expenses. The gravy train's carrying rather a lot of passengers I think.

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    hermes

    Saturday, January 18, 2014

  • Keep 'em coming John....some poor sap might rise to the bait.

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    LARSON.E. WHIPSNADE

    Thursday, January 16, 2014

  • Sorry about the triplication - I must have pressed the "Submit" button too firmly.

    Report this comment

    Old Hand

    Thursday, January 16, 2014

  • DWW25 - no, roads and bins are two things! I assume the NDR will infact be a road, a very overdue road but a road nevertheless!

    Report this comment

    Norfolk John

    Thursday, January 16, 2014

  • It is over-simplistic to talk of "protecting services" without first considering what services should be provided at public expense.

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    Old Hand

    Thursday, January 16, 2014

  • Mr Borrit you and your colleagues will bring down heaven and hell ,to get the incinerator on the edge of KING'S LYNN.Now who are NIMBYS. WE HAVE 92 SCHOOLS.88 ARE Nursery, Infants, Primary,Junior,and children with Special Needs. The other 4 Schools are for over 12 year old. The under12s year which are all in the 88. The majority these Schools are within1mile to 5mile radius from the incinerator,these are ROAD MILES,NOT AS the Crow Fly Do not forget these could be your children,and grandchildren, Beware what you wish for Mr Nobbs you were sitting on the fence,now you have jumped off on the wrong side,You WERE against the Incinerator. Now we lived in South Lynn from 1944-1954 we were flooded in 1953.12 people in South Lynn were drowned that night,Saturday 31st January,1953. We lived near a fertilizer factory ,The Muck Works,which was built in 1872 closed 1969.(97 years of toxic pollution. Many people had developed several different types of respiratory diseases.Our Mother had Acute Bronchitis,Asthma,and Emphysema which she died of.,after 30 years of pain and pills she then had a tumour strike her spine, which left her paralysed from the waist,but she was still fighting. Her brain was as sharp as a razor,but she knew it was time to say good bye, and said "David and Dad are waiting for "me Ps This is why I voted against the incinerator and also because NorfolkCounty Council ignored the referendum Mr Nobbs don' t worry about council tax,you you will have refund money if that incinerator is given the go on,House prices will drop and Council Tax will drop.

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    LFB

    Thursday, January 16, 2014

  • Perhaps UNISON will tell us which jobsworths and non jobbers they will agree to get rid of ?.

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    "V"

    Thursday, January 16, 2014

  • Voters and council tax payers call for a council tax freeze.

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    Bruce87

    Thursday, January 16, 2014

  • ".....The Prime Minister defends the gifting of taxpayers money to others even though it has never formed part of any manifesto or policy which he or any other party was elected on....". Tripe. David Cameron promised in the Tory manifesto that got him elected to make it the law that governments must spend at least 0.7 per cent of Britain’s output on foreign aid.

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    LARSON.E. WHIPSNADE

    Friday, January 17, 2014

  • Unions always want to poke there snouts in, why don't they give some of their funds back to the workers. It would be better than bank rolling the Labour Party

    Report this comment

    Sweet cheeks

    Thursday, January 16, 2014

  • @BG - my council tax payments are high enough now to pay adequately for services and roads, without the need for an increase, that kind sir is the actual reality of the situation.

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    Bruce87

    Thursday, January 16, 2014

  • Dunning is nothing more than a puppet - paid-up UNISON members throughout the county say that they find it easier to pass a camel through the eye of a needle than get him on the phone when they need him but amazingly enough he's always ready with a sound bite for the press when Brother Nobbs comes a-calling....

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    User Removed

    Thursday, January 16, 2014

  • It is over-simplistic to talk of "protecting services" without first considering what services should be provided at public expense.

    Report this comment

    Old Hand

    Thursday, January 16, 2014

  • The Council tax is to high already, as for the county council, someone needs to be accountable for wasting tax payers money on the incinerator in the first place when there is so much opposition. The Police have already said they want more as crimes have increased in the way of vulnerable people etc, is it that or are they now having to be more accountable and record crimes correctly. Mr Bett has not helped the situation by claiming expenses when he is already taking £70,000.00 a year. These services still have a lot of opportunity to cut spending don't look at the front line services look at what is being spent on senior management. PCSO'S are paid between £21000 and £26000 they need to be given more responsibility for that sort of money as the average wage is about £15000,00 around this area or they should be transferred to the Council to run at a reduced wage, this would save fortune.

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    job

    Thursday, January 16, 2014

  • Larson E W, without wishing to split hairs the commitment to 0.7 was buried deep in the small print of the 2010 Conservative Manifesto and wasn't a big part of the campaign. However, the question of whether or not the PM was elected is debatable as no single political party won a majority meaning the Conservative Manifesto wasn't universally appealing to the UK electorate was it?

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    Bad Form

    Thursday, January 16, 2014

  • I wonder how many hours of council time this Client spends on union propaganda? It's stated in one of the papers today that councils should not have to pay teachers for being union reps we'll the same should apply here. If Dunning wants to do the unions dirty work let them pay his wages and not the tax payer.

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    Sweet cheeks

    Friday, January 17, 2014

  • @Bruce87 - After adding inflation in the equation each year that the council tax is frozen, is in reality a cut. We cannot go on year in year out moaning about cuts to services and deterioration in our roads etc when people hide from the reality of the situation. We need to be paying more by way of council tax - end of.

    Report this comment

    BG

    Thursday, January 16, 2014

  • When we lived in Wandsworth our tax was zero, nada, nothing. And they ran at a profit. This lot couldn't run a whelk stall.

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    alecto

    Thursday, January 16, 2014

  • Why don't we all give our earningsincome to the council,for them to give us back what they think we need ! it seems quite fair !!!!

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    Albert Cooper

    Thursday, January 16, 2014

  • The old Red Indian saying “Whiteman speaks with fork tongue” Last month George Nobbs was harping on Council Tax will have to rise if Eric Pickles gives permission to build the incinerator. This is due to Defra withdrawing the PFI funding and leaves a shortfall of £169 million. I would think government do not trust the county council like most of the public.

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    Alan Allan

    Thursday, January 16, 2014

  • Council Tax is already too high and services poor. More cuts need to be made at County Hall and at the District Council offices

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    Jacob Burns

    Thursday, January 16, 2014

  • @BG.I promise not to make a habit out of it but for once I agree.

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    Peter Watson

    Friday, January 17, 2014

  • Protect services from the axe - don't they mean protect their subsidised pensions? Oh, to have worked in the public sector - silly me, I chose the private - and boy have I paid for it!!

    Report this comment

    biglingers

    Thursday, January 16, 2014

  • John Norfolk - Excuse me but I count 3 things! ;-)

    Report this comment

    DWW25

    Thursday, January 16, 2014

  • Many people are deriding Unison but seem quite happy to see our own government 'give away' billions in foreign aid to other countries. The Prime Minister defends the gifting of taxpayers money to others even though it has never formed part of any manifesto or policy which he or any other party was elected on. To cap it all the Conservatives have done little to curb or address those in the banking and finance sector who were responsible for bringing this country to it's knees. The Labour Party is not much better, as under Tony Blair it was happy to waste billions in abortive and costly wars and open our borders to all and sundry without a thought to how the extra strain on our society could be financed. At a local level those who have campaigned for the incinerator to be abandoned have used pseudo science and scare stories about the health implication of incineration whilst selectively choosing to ignore the dangers and long term problems that accrue from using landfill to dispose of the rubbish that they and others in the area contribute to. To then harp on about the how the costs of aborting the incineration of waste in Norfolk should be borne by everyone because of their biased views is the personification of hypocrisy. The problem isn't that money needs to be raised it is that it doesn't need to be squandered in the first place and government is doing a good job of that all by itself!

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    Bad Form

    Thursday, January 16, 2014

  • It is over-simplistic to talk of "protecting services" without first considering what services should be provided at public expense.

    Report this comment

    Old Hand

    Thursday, January 16, 2014

  • There are only two things I want from the council – decent well maintained & lit roads (including the building of the NDR) and my bins emptied ever week. At the moment I get neither, so bring on any cuts that will save money.

    Report this comment

    Norfolk John

    Thursday, January 16, 2014

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

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