Norfolk in demand for MPs to stop county from missing out on millions for crucial services

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

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

MPs will today be urged to give Norfolk the money to pay for key services to redress a government 'false perception' which has meant the county has missed out on millions.

Norfolk County Council will today make an appeal to MPs to back fairer funding for rural counties and to hammer home the point that Norfolk does not get as much money as it should.

In a report to the influential all-party parliamentary group on social mobility, the county council will say Norfolk is not receiving enough national investment in local public services, due to 'false perceptions' that it is a relatively rich area.

Since 2010/11, the county council's government grant has been slashed by £189m and the authority has made savings of £334m, while absorbing extra costs of £319m.

Yet, more than 120,000 people in Norfolk live in areas which are among the most deprived 20pc in England - parts of Norwich, Great Yarmouth, Thetford and King's Lynn, along with pockets of deprivation in rural areas, coastal villages and market towns.

The report to MPs states: 'Unfortunately, the false perception of Norfolk as a relatively rich area has left it excluded from the levels of investment in public services that its people require and have a right to expect.

'We urge the all-party parliamentary group to challenge the perception that social mobility is exclusively an urban issue and take up the cause of places such as Norfolk, where rural deprivation, isolation and declining amenities risk excluding its people from enjoying the benefits of the industrial growth, jobs and housing, to which government policy is committed.'

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County council leader Andrew Proctor said: 'The county council works with partners to improve education, support economic development and provide the right infrastructure – but significant challenges remain in ensuring that everyone benefits from this work.

'I want to ensure that people can make the best of their lives, wherever they live in the county.

'That's why we're calling for the government's funding review to recognise the true costs of us providing services in rural areas and help us step up our work to improve social mobility.'

What does the county council report say?

The report says Norfolk's people are the least socially mobile within the eastern region:

More than 120,000 people in Norfolk live in areas which are among the most deprived 20pc in England.

The districts of Breckland, Great Yarmouth, King's Lynn and West Norfolk, North Norfolk and Norwich are amongst the worst 10pc nationally for social mobility

Barriers to social mobility in Norfolk, identified in the report, include:

An economy reliant on tourism and agriculture means jobs can be both seasonal and low wage, with limited scope for progression

Average earnings in Norfolk are significantly below national and regional levels

Access to services, which are mainly focussed on urban areas

Access to affordable childcare for low income families

Persistent issues with educational attainment

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