Union fears that political ‘point scoring’ will hamper Norfolk County Council budget setting

Labour leader George Nobbs. Labour leader George Nobbs.

Adam Gretton adam.gretton@archant.co.uk
Monday, February 17, 2014
9:27 AM

Fears have been raised that political “point scoring” could result in Norfolk County Council not setting its budget today.

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The Labour/Liberal Democrat administration at County Hall has put forward plans to part plug a £189m shortfall with wide-ranging cuts to services, but is not proposing to increase council tax bills for 2014/15.

However, the plans have been branded as “flawed” by the Conservative opposition group, which has 40 elected members. And the Green Party, which has four county councillors, has said that it is unable to support a budget because of the scale of social services cuts and has proposed a 3.5pc council tax increase.

It has led to Unison officials fearing that the Labour and Liberal Democrat administration will not have a majority to pass the budget at today’s full council meeting. Jonathan Dunning, Norfolk county branch secretary for Unison, said: “Not to set a budget would be a disaster and irresponsible, but there is a risk this could happen if any one political group puts point scoring over the interests of Norfolk County Council and the people we serve.”

George Nobbs, the Labour leader of the county council, said suggestions of a council tax rise were “futile” when the council would have to hold a costly referendum if it wanted to raise tax by more than 1.9pc.

“There is a determination from the administration to set a budget. It is vitally important that a budget is set for Norfolk and we can not afford to play silly politics with people’s services. At the time when we are cutting services, it seems unreasonable to increase the council tax as well.”

Bill Borrett, leader of the Conservative opposition group, said he would be “very surprised” if a budget was no set.

“I am assuming the administration are setting a budget. They have a majority in the chamber and it is their job to set the budget. We have serious concerns about the budget and it appears the administration is not planning properly for the long-term and this is a short-term fix.”

“Robbing money from next year’s budget to plug gaps will mean that the cuts will be twice as deep next year,” he said.

9 comments

  • Shouldn't Unison be concentrating on the way one of their own is being treated by the Labour bullies on the Council? How can you expect them to behave properly when they cant even be civil and fairminded to Alex Kemp. And by the way has Gnobbs now publicly spoken to her after a year of sending her to Coventry for being a real Labourite? Or is he still throwing his toys out of the pram?

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    alecto

    Monday, February 17, 2014

  • The Greens proposals make damn good sense.

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    Old Long Balls

    Monday, February 17, 2014

  • Nice to see the Greens knocking that useless bunch on the cabinet into shape. Andrew Boswell is worth more than the whole lot of them put together.

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    alecto

    Monday, February 17, 2014

  • Given the Green's letter to Nobbs (do a quick search on the interweb - if I include the link Archant refuse to publish my comment), does this mean that they agree to all the budget except housing and adult wellbeing? I do agree with them about taking money from the NDR reserves, though. In fact, let's solve all the money issues by cancelling the NDR (saving some £60m) and the incinerator (losing £21m initially, gaining in the long term by sending our waste to other councils' incinerators). This would plug the black hole and remove the reductions in services.

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    So_Many_Haters!

    Monday, February 17, 2014

  • What a mess, local news said this morning that the government may step in if things are not sorted out, there needs to be an independent management team go in and expose all the goings on and then either start a fresh or break it up. NCC is not fit for purpose or viable.

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    Sweet cheeks

    Monday, February 17, 2014

  • The whole council has no leader the man is a joke. it fine moaning about the last lot but this lot are even worse, they have no idea whats so ever

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    Sweet cheeks

    Monday, February 17, 2014

  • Rubbish. The SS shouold be cut to the bone. Too many jobsworths and idle hands in that department.

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    "V"

    Monday, February 17, 2014

  • It will have been a major achievement just having kept the show on the road in settling a legal budget, dealing with the mess the most disastrous Tory administration in living memory left behind.The issue of incineration of waste remains unresolved and the necessary restructuring of senior management has been delayed by the Tories',supported by Ukip, continued belief a local authority can be run as a Premier League football club.As a result it has no leadership of those in paid service and no settled vision for the future.There must be questions too as to whether the current state of management can ensure the council is meeting statutory minima.You could call it "muddling through" but if services are not safe for the vulnerable people the council have a statutory duty to protect,the government would be negligent not to intervene.The NAO inspection cannot come soon enough.

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    Peter Watson

    Monday, February 17, 2014

  • 'Very surprised if a budget would not be set' said Cllr. Borrett. How wrong he and the unions were, the budget has been set thanks to the Greens balancing out the Conservative who voted against because, one presumes, they want to raise council taxes. Truth is, if they weren't as wreckles as to sign contracts with environmental criminals, Norfolk would now have a proper gas plasma facillity, recyling and producing gas for cars, heating or electricity, rclaiming landfill sites the main party politicians neglected and forgot. Its bad decisions such as Coltishall, 26 million for new laptops, computers, ibooks and pads for NCC, when their system works sufficiently. Ther NDR monies are also extra, could be cut if Norfolk people were strong enough to demand it, money for cuts can be found, but the Tories want to raise taxes, as well as and allow more solar farms for their friends on good quality farmland.

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    ingo wagenknecht

    Monday, February 17, 2014

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