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People in Norwich could face council tax increase due to City Hall budget gap

PUBLISHED: 14:59 24 December 2019 | UPDATED: 14:59 24 December 2019

Norwich City Council could be increasing its share of the council tax. Picture: Denise Bradley

Norwich City Council could be increasing its share of the council tax. Picture: Denise Bradley

Archant

People in Norwich could see 
their council tax bills go up 
by the maximum amount allowable next year, as the city council grapples with a funding gap.

City councillor Paul Kendrick. Photo: Bill SmithCity councillor Paul Kendrick. Photo: Bill Smith

Norwich City Council has launched its budget consultation for 2020/21, which includes a potential 1.99pc increase in the share of the council tax which goes to City Hall.

That is the maximum the government currently allows without requiring a referendum and would add £5.25 on to the annual bill for a Band D property.

But it would generate about £195,000 more for the city council to provide services, with the council saying it is facing a shortfall in its budget.

The council says it has made more than £30m of savings over the past decade, but faces a funding gap of £10m from 2021 to 2025, amid a drop in government grants and increased costs.

The council is mulling over whether to make a further £1.8m through back office changes and contractual changes.

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It is also exploring dipping into reserves to take out £160,000 to help smooth savings over several years and is aiming to generate an extra £780,000 in income.

Paul Kendrick, the city council's cabinet member with responsibility for finance, said: "We are conscious of the impact of any council tax increase on Norwich residents and continue to urge the government to properly fund local councils and local services.

"Despite the financial challenges, the council isn't proposing any cuts to services in the next financial year. Instead, we're adapting by generating more income and making savings and efficiencies where appropriate.

"Council tax remains an important means of funding and I urge people to give their views through this consultation."

The consultation is at www.norwich.gov.uk/consultations and closes at midnight on Friday, January 24.

In Norwich, council tax is split between Norfolk County Council (72pc), Norwich City Council (14pc) and the police and crime commissioner (14pc).

Norfolk's police and crime commissioner Lorne Green has tabled three options over his share of council tax - no increase, an increase of 2pc or an increase of more than 2pc a year.

Norfolk County Council's budget planning is predicated on a 3.99pc council tax increase.

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