Council unveils budget proposals

Council unveils budget proposals

Prudent measures to meet spending pressures and balance the books are being considered by the County Council.

A 3.99% Council Tax rise and new savings of £15.8m next year are being considered, after the council warned additional Government money will be “substantially absorbed by ongoing demand and demographic pressures”.

The council has already agreed to save £31.1m next year. Now, the cabinet is to consider £15.8m of new savings for 2020-21 and proposals for up until 2023-24. Consultation will take place over the autumn, before the Government confirms the council’s funding in December and the full council takes a final decision to set a budget in February.

Councillor Andrew Jamieson, cabinet member for finance, said: “While I welcome additional Government money – including a predicted £17m grant for children’s and adults social care – it’s still not enough to meet our spending needs.

“After nearly a decade of making savings, we still face rising demand for services and continued uncertainty over future funding. That’s why I’m proposing a series of prudent measures to balance the books.”

The key proposals are:

  • A Council Tax rise of 3.99% next year, in line with Government expectations – 1.99% for all services and 2% through the Government’s adult social care precept. A 3.99% increase would see the County Council’s share of band D bills rise by £54.27, to £1,416.51.
  • New savings and increased income of £15.8m next year, rising to a total of £29.9m over 4 years

Proposed new savings or increased income, per department, 2020/21:

  • Adult social services: £7.2m – including saving £3.75m by increasing reablement, which helps people regain independence after being in hospital
  • Children's services: £3.8m – including saving £3.5m by commissioning new care for children, with better outcomes and lower costs
  • 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

The council has budgeted to save £395m since 2011-12. Over that time, its funding from the Government has reduced by £220m and cost pressures have risen by £440m.

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