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2.99 per cent Council Tax rise as budget is agreed

11 February 2019

Norfolk County Council has agreed its latest £409m net revenue budget and a 2.99 per cent Council Tax rise.

The budget for 2019/20 was set following a three-hour meeting at County Hall today.  The meeting had been delayed for four hours by climate change protesters.

Council leader Andrew Proctor said:  “This budget is balanced, is robust and allocates our resources across Norfolk’s people and communities in the best way we can, while protecting the frontline services the people of Norfolk rely on so dearly.”

Cllr Proctor said the council has been pressing the Government for more certainty on longer-term funding, so it doesn’t have to “retrench to only a basic service offer”.

He said:  “There are major financial challenges ahead, there is no doubt of that and we will have to deal with them head on.  As leader, I am confident that this council under this administration will rise to those challenges.”

The key points of the budget agreed today are:

  • A £409m net revenue budget – representing the Council Tax income which contributes to running the council and its services
  • A 2.99 per cent rise in the county council’s share of Council Tax – the maximum permitted by Government, without having to stage a referendum.  The Council’s share of band D bills will rise to £1,362.24 from April.
  • Savings of £31.6m in 2019/20, rising to a total of £79.4m over the next three years
  • Examples of increased investment from April include £6m to address growing demand on adult social services, and £14.5m to tackle pressures on the looked-after children service
  • The Council’s Government funding has reduced by a total of £204m between 2010/11 and 2018/19 and its revenue support grant will fall from £39m to zero in 2020/21, although the budget assumes this will be mitigated by transitional funding.  During this period, the council has made savings of £364m, including efficiency savings of £246m.

Councillors also agreed a £548.5m, three-year capital budget, which pays for investment in infrastructure, property and equipment.  It is funded by borrowing and £192m of Government and other external grants and contributions.

Examples of capital investment include:

  • £100m for new special educational needs schools and units in mainstream schools
  • £120m to construct the Third River Crossing in Great Yarmouth
  • £9m over the next three years for extra care housing, to help older people live independently, as part of a total investment of up to £29m
  • £3.6m for new workshops at Scottow Enterprise Park

Background:

The Council’s three-year savings are allocated as follows:

  • Adult social care: £40.8m
  • Children’s services: £12.3m
  • Environment, development and transport: £5.6m
  • Communities: £5.4m
  • Business and property: £2.4m
  • Digital innovation and efficiency: £1.7m
  • Policy and resources: £11m

Over the last year, population growth and rising inflation cost the council an additional £31.1m.  Examples of this demand include:

  • Norfolk’s population has grown by 33,500 people, to 898,400, over the last five years
  • During the same period, the number of children and young people (0-15s) has risen by 4.2 per cent/6,100
  • The number of older people has increased by 21,600/11.1 per cent, which is higher than the national average (10.8 per cent)
  • 24.1 per cent of Norfolk’s population is aged 65 and over, compared to 18 per cent in England as a whole
  • More than 120,000 people in Norfolk live in areas categorised as being in the most deprived 20 per cent of England

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