Norfolk County Council funding gap grows by £7m

Finance officers at Norfolk County Council say the predicted funding gap at the authority is now £18

Finance officers at Norfolk County Council say the predicted funding gap at the authority is now £189m. - Credit: Archant

The estimated funding gap at Norfolk County Council, which leaders had already warned will inevitably lead to service cuts, has grown by £7m.

Finance officers at County Hall said in August that the council would have to make £182m worth of savings over the next three years, with cost pressures increasing and government funding going down.

But they have now warned the picture could be even bleaker than first predicted and the funding gap could be as wide as £189m.

In a report which will come before the council's cabinet on Monday, Paul Brittain, the council's head of finance, said analysis of detailed documents released by the Department for Communities and Local Government suggested 'it would be prudent to adjust our projected funding gap for planning purposes to £189m'.

He said: 'The formal public consultation on budget proposals is due to commence later in September and it is proposed that the consultation document now refers to a gap of £189m.'

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The revised projection means the council will have to save £66.5m in 2014/15, which is less than the £73m predicted a month ago.

In 2015/16 the amount goes up from the previously predicted £53m to £66.5m and in 2016/17 it will remain at the previously predicted £56m.

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Officers said the increase in 2015/16 was mainly due to 'a larger grant reduction than announced by the chancellor in the spending review in June'.

The council will find out exactly how much the government plans to give the authority in December.

Unveiling the 'strategic vision' and priorities of the Labour and Liberal Democrat administration earlier this month, council leader George Nobbs said the authority must not 'flinch in the face of tough decisions'.

He said an immediate review of senior management structures at the council was underway and chief officers had already drawn up a list of internal savings.

He said the public would be given a specific set of options on cuts next month but warned the council, would not be able to make savings without 'pain or loss of services'.

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