Recycling centres, librarians and grass verges in firing line over £26m cuts
PUBLISHED: 11:16 29 September 2020 | UPDATED: 11:16 29 September 2020
Fewer community librarians, reduced hours for recycling centres, less frequent cutting of grass verges and an end to newspapers and magazines in libraries.
Those are among cuts which the public will see if £26m of savings are made by Norfolk County Council, as the authority readies a budget described by councillors as “the toughest the council has faced so far”.
Norfolk County Council proposes cutting millions from budgets and raising council tax by 4pc, with UNISON fearful the public will get a poorer service - and staff could face redundancy.
Details of cuts will become clearer in the months ahead, but some of the major savings include £18m across adult social care, as well as £5m savings from the children’s services budget.
The authority plans to reduce the amount it spends on providing community and environmental services by £7m, and cut its strategy, governance, finance and commercial services bill by a combined total of £6m.
Among the proposals are reducing opening hours for recycling centres, to save £70,000 and to cut the number of community librarians by a fifth to save £118,000.
Reducing rural grass cutting from twice a year to once a year, on roads classified as C and U, while bring urban grass cutting down from four to three cuts a year would save £100,000.
Ending the provision of newspapers and magazines would save £50,000, while stopping the printing of the council’s Your Norfolk magazine would save £100,000.
UNISON has warned there are also “significant savings” proposed through “staffing efficiencies”, particularly across adult social care, where the council wants to change a number of services.
Jonathan Dunning, UNISON’s county branch secretary, said: “This round of budget proposals sees the risk of numerous county council workers facing redundancy.
“It will also have an impact on services the public benefit from, such as will happen form the deletion of the community librarian posts.”
Andrew Jamieson, cabinet member for finance, said: “This is the toughest budget the council has faced so far.” He has called for fairer funding from the government.
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