Target set to make £40m more cuts and savings at Norfolk County Council

Andrew Proctor, leader of Norfolk County Council. Pic: Neil Perry

Andrew Proctor, leader of Norfolk County Council. Pic: Neil Perry - Credit: Archant

A target has been set to make £40m worth of further savings and cuts at Norfolk County Council - as County Hall leaders reiterated the need for more certainty from government over funding.

The council is facing a £71m gap over the next two years, amid rising demand and the ending of the government's revenue support grant - money the government gives to pay for services.

The Conservative-controlled council recently switched back to a cabinet system and one of its first acts was to agree the £40m savings target - during a meeting which lasted barely 30 minutes.

The departmental savings targets include cutting £9m from the budget for adult social care, £4.5m from children's services and £5m from community and environmental services.

Council leader Andrew Proctor said, on top of savings the council has already made or is in the process of making, finding more savings would not be easy.

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He said: "The departmental numbers are quite high, when you think there's £9m from adults and £4.5m from children's services.

"These are not going to be an easy call at all.

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"If this action is taken, then there's a recognition that there needs to be a transformation in the way services are delivered."

Mr Proctor, along with Norfolk MPs, mer local government minister Rishi Sunak last week to discuss council funding.

The council has also submitted evidence to a fair funding review which is being carried out.

Mr Proctor said the minister had recognised particular issues Norfolk is grappling with, such as over costs for special educational needs.

He said Mr Sunak had pledged to advocate for local government with the government.

Deputy leader Graham Plant said the government needed to give longer term certainty over funding, rather than one-off grants.

He said: "We cannot plan for the future without knowing what the money will be for the next three to five years.

"Working on one-off grants is not the right way for this council to be operating."

Speaking after the meeting, Labour leader Steve Morphew, said: "It's hard to believe the complacency of this Tory cabinet faced with £40m cuts.

"Nodded through, with just a hint of criticism of their government that is leaving Norfolk high and dry. Having cut children's centres and hiked care costs this year, the future looks beyond bleak for the services Norfolk relies on."

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