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County council expected to miss budget savings target this year by more than £5m

Norfolk County Council headquarters. County Hall Martineau Lane, Norwich. Photo: Steve Adams

Norfolk County Council headquarters. County Hall Martineau Lane, Norwich. Photo: Steve Adams

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The brunt of £95m of county council budget cuts will now be spread across three years as a shortfall of more than £5m in projected savings for 2018/19 is expected.

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

A report going before the policy and resources committee on July 16 reveals the scale of efficiency savings for this year will not be achieved.

Subsequently, the decision has been made to spread the savings across three years, not two, to bridge a budget gap of £95m.

A total of £48.5m in savings have already been found by the council.

But it is not expected to meet its target this year, largely due to spending on projects in adult social care.

The shortfall of more than £5m includes £2.7m for promoting independence for younger adults, as a result of the time it takes to transition care leavers into independence, the report says.

A further £1.2m comes from the radical review of day care services for people with a learning disability. Five providers are currently beginning 12 moth pilots to “reshape the offer”.

Under the council’s original plans, it was going to make the savings over two years, with no savings in 2021/22. Now, the council is proposing to make the savings over the full three-year period.

Leader of the Liberal Democrat group Dan Roper said the council is falling “considerably short” of its savings target this year.

“The Tories were looking to enforce too much pain too quickly on Norfolk residents purely so they did not have to make cuts in an election year,” he said.

“I absolutely welcome this change of heart from the council leadership and that they have finally seen sense.”

County council leader, Councillor Andrew Proctor, said: “Having reviewed the budget with colleagues, I’m now proposing to see the savings delivered over three years, instead of two, simply because it’s more realistic.

“The problem still exists and will be addressed. This approach also gives us a bit more time to find additional savings by being more commercial in the way we do things – especially generating our own income.”

The report says that the council’s budget strategy aims to “deliver sustainable and affordable services for the people who need them most. The whole council needs to change to keep up with increasing demands and ever better ways of working.”

Proposals for the council’s budget for 2019/20 will be considered by the council’s committees in the autumn.

Councillors will consider the report when the policy and resources committee meets at 10am on Monday, 16th July.

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