Council tax freeze for Norfolk as County Hall agrees budget with �44m worth of savings

Norfolk County Council has set its budget for the next financial year, confirming �44m worth of savings and a freeze for its share of the council tax.

But the ruling Conservative group also announced it had found extra cash to create apprenticeships in the county.

The county council agreed a revenue and capital budget of �674m for the financial year of 2012/13 at a meeting in County Hall.

The budget will see a further �44m saved next year, on top of the �60m which was cut this year following the council's Big Conversation.

Before the meeting, anti-cuts campaigners, including members of UNISON and the Norfolk Coalition of Disabled People. protested outside County Hall.


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They were concerned at plans to cut �3.5m from the day services budget, concerns which were also raised at the meeting by the Green group and the Liberal Democrats.

But the Conservative budget, which includes those cuts - and the loss of up to 360 full-time jobs - was agreed with 43 votes for, 17 against and one abstention.

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The budget included proposals for �3.5m to spend on road maintenance, �5.4m to provide extra places in Norfolk for looked after children, �3m to provide apprenticeships for young people and �2.5m to invest in adult social service prevention, to help smaller voluntary groups adapt to new ways of providing care.

And at today's meeting, the ruling Conservative group announced a further �891,000 to create 81 apprenticeship positions within the Norse Group over the coming year.

That deal will also see the Norse Group providing nearly �800,000 of extra investment towards the young peoples' training and development.

A further announcement was for �219,000 for a new Norfolk Citizenship Initiative, which City College Norwich will be involved with to find ways into work for Norfolk's young people.

A proposal by Labour which would have provided half-fare travel for young people in Norfolk is to be referred to a review panel.

• See tomorrow's papers for the full story.

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