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Call for more clarity over how £16m extra council savings will affect people

PUBLISHED: 14:38 17 October 2019 | UPDATED: 15:03 17 October 2019

Norfolk County Council's County Hall headquarters in Norwich. Pic: Neil Perry.

Norfolk County Council's County Hall headquarters in Norwich. Pic: Neil Perry.

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A further £16m of county council savings has been 'called-in' for further scrutiny - because critics do not believe the public is being given the full picture of how the axe could fall.

Steve Morphew, leader of the Labour group at Norfolk County Council. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYSteve Morphew, leader of the Labour group at Norfolk County Council. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Norfolk County Council is preparing its 2020/21 budget and is looking at a further £15.8m of savings, on top of just over £31m already agreed for next year.

As well as a 3.99pc increase in the share of council tax which goes to County Hall - which would see the annual bill for a Band D property go up by £54.27 to £1,416.51 - each department will have to make savings.

The Conservative-controlled council's cabinet has agreed that each department needs to make the following savings:

- Adult social services: £7.2m - including saving £3.75m by increasing reablement, which helps people regain independence after being in hospital

Andrew Jamieson, cabinet member for finance at Norfolk County Council. Pic: Norfolk County Council.Andrew Jamieson, cabinet member for finance at Norfolk County Council. Pic: Norfolk County Council.

- Children's services: £3.8m - including saving £3.5m by commissioning new care for children.

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- Community and environmental services: £1.9m - including saving £250,000 by renegotiating highways contracts

- Strategy and governance department: £500,000 - including saving £320,000 through income generation and vacancy management

- Finance and commercial services and finance general: £800,000 - including raising an extra £500,000 from organisational change budgets

- Business transformation: £1.6m through making the council's processes more modern, efficient and business-like.

Andrew Jamieson, the council's cabinet member for finance has warned very tough decisions will need to be taken.

But the Labour opposition at County Hall has called the budget planning process in to the scrutiny committee, saying there is not enough information about what the savings would mean for people to make the public consultation meaningful.

Steve Morphew, Labour leader and chairman of the scrutiny committee, said: "We have seen it with children's centres, where they talked about transformation, but nobody was given the full picture as to what the impact was going to be."

Members of the controlling cabinet will be asked to answer questions when the scrutiny committee meets on Tuesday, October 22.

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