Cut Norfolk County Council salaries to save youth services, say Greens

Cutting salaries of the best paid staff at Norfolk County Council and stopping all spending on the northern distributor road would save youth services from the axe, according to the Green group at County Hall.

The county council will meet on Monday to agree a revenue budget of just over �603,000m for 2011/12 and to make just under �60m worth of savings, as part of a three year plan to save �155m.

Protesters have dubbed the Conservative-controlled council's plans as a Valentine's Day Massacre, with �25m to be cut from children's services, �14m from adult social services and the equivalent of 750 full-time jobs set to be axed.

But the Green group's alternative budget says youth services could be spared the axe, funding for the Bittern Line could continue and the travel information desk at Norwich Bus Station kept open.

The Greens will propose on Monday that the salaries of county council staff who earn more than �80,000 should be cut by 10pc and those earning between �41,500 and �79,999 slashed by five per cent.

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They say reducing those (not including teachers and fire staff) would generate an extra �1.38m a year which would enable them to keep a 'skeleton framework' in place for essential youth services.

Phil Hardy, leader of the Green group, said; 'We believe that young people have been proportionately targeted by the cuts at both the national and local level.

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'Whilst we welcome retaining the post-16 transport subsidy, this is but small compensation when the ruling administration is proposing to stop funding youth services in Norfolk completely.'

The group is also proposing stopping all funding on the NDR scheme, which they say will lead only to more traffic if it ever goes ahead.

That, the Greens say, would save �750,000 - the amount due to be spent on modelling for the road in 2011/12. That cash would help save the closure-threatened Unthank Centre in Norwich, preserve the schools music service, prevent cuts in funding for The Bittern Line and keep the bus information desk open at Norwich Bus Station.

The Greens say in each of the years 2012/13 and 2013/14 they would increase council tax by 1pc, which would raise �6.8m to protect public services.

The proposal will be presented to the county council at the full council meeting on Monday.

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