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Norfolk County Council needs to make £99m more savings in next three years

PUBLISHED: 13:09 16 July 2018 | UPDATED: 13:51 16 July 2018

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

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

Archant

The starting gun has been fired over the next round of savings at Norfolk County Council, where £99m of savings need to be made over the next three years.

A change of tack by the Conservative-controlled council means the savings will be made over three years, rather than the previously agreed two, when no savings would have been made in 2021/22.

That led to Labour group leader claiming the Tories’ budget was unravelling, although the Conservative leader described it as “reprofiling”.

The council’s policy and resources committee today heard how just over £5m of savings which were supposed to be made this year have yet to be achieved.

And that will be added to the £94m of savings needed in the years ahead.

Committees will propose the savings in the autumn, but for 2018/19 £22m will need to be saved.

Different council departments will get different targets. That will mean £9.6m will need to be saved in adult social care, £5.7m from children’s services, £2.8m from environment, development and transport, £1.6m from communities, £370,000 from digital innovation and efficiency, £154,000 from business and property and £1.7m from policy and resources.

The current assumptions are based on a 2.99pc increase in County Hall’s share of the council tax next year, 1.99pc the following year and a freeze in 2021/22 - a year in which there would be county council elections.

Steve Morphew, leader of the Labour group, asked his Conservative opponents: “How come your budget strategy has unraveled quite so quickly? I think we deserve and explanation.”

But Conservative leader Andrew Proctor said: “On unraveling, I would dispute that. I prefer to use the term reprofiling.

“It’s a more realistic way to deliver savings.

“It’s not kicking the can down the road, but considering when you can deliver the savings.

“No-one is taking their foot off the pedal, but ensuring savings can be delivered when the time comes.”

The Liberal Democrats had previously called for the savings to be made over three years, so leader Dan Roper welcomed the change.

But he warned that council tax should not be “set in stone” at this point.

Mr Proctor said the council tax levels were assumptions at this stage and were not fact.

Conservative Bill Borrett said: “As we have shown, throughout this administration, if we believe the best thing to do to protect a service is to increase council tax, then we will put council tax up, but people will get to decide that in the budget at the time.”

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