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Budget challenges to be scrutinised

Norfolk County Council, 11 October 2022 00:00

Significant financial challenges facing the County Council, as it seeks to bridge a £60m budget gap, will be considered by the scrutiny committee.

Members will consider a report which says the Council faces "very significant challenges and enormous uncertainty" and that "very severe headwinds" such as inflation and cost of living will "inevitably serve to increase the size of the budget gap".

Councillor Steve Morphew, chair of the scrutiny committee, said:

"It's hard to find any good news and the prospects are far from encouraging. We wait to find out what response the Government has to increased demand from residents for council support and inflation, on top of the huge budget gap the council is already finding it increasingly hard to bridge.

"The job of scrutiny in these circumstances is to challenge the administration, to make sure they are using council resources in the best way possible, holding them to account and making sure what they are proposing is realistic and deliverable. The County Council has a responsibility to the whole county for services to residents, especially those who are most vulnerable, and our first duty is to be honest with them."

In July, the County Council announced the first £13m of savings to meet a £60m budget gap next year. Further proposals were considered by cabinet on 3 October and will now be considered by the scrutiny committee.

The report says the council has identified further savings, which take the total to £33.2m.

It says:

  • Many elements of the budget remain unknown and "intensive work therefore continues to identify further savings"
  • There is a "significant risk that the Council will be obliged to consider reductions in service levels"
  • It is "critical" that the Council continues to lobby the Government and MPs for "adequate and sustainable funding for Norfolk"

The latest proposals, totalling £19.5m, include:

  • £11.7m from adult social services
  • £1.8m from children's services
  • £2.9m from community and environmental services
  • £0.05m from strategy and transformation
  • £0.03m from governance
  • £3.1m from finance and commercial services

The same meeting will consider an update on a strategic review of the Council, to improve the way it operates and save between £15m and £20m. Once detailed proposals are developed and checked, they will be added to the budget.

The scrutiny committee will consider the report when it meets at 10am on Wednesday, 19 October. You can watch the meeting, live or afterwards and read the papers online. 

Last modified: 14 May 2024 12:44

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