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Council outlines budget pressures

13 January 2020

The growing pressures facing Norfolk County Council – including an additional £1m for the national living wage – have been considered by the cabinet.

The cabinet met this morning to discuss its latest £427.7m net budget proposals. This is funded by Council Tax, which is proposed to rise by 3.99 per cent – 1.99 per cent for general Council Tax and two per cent under the Government’s adult social care precept.

The meeting heard that the Council was having to fund an additional £65m of service pressures – and was now having to fund an additional £1m, due to the Government announcing a higher than expected increase in the national living wage.

Councillor Andrew Jamieson, cabinet member for finance, said: “This is a budget set during a period of unprecedented uncertainty. We are having to respond to demographic pressures, funding restraint and changes to best practice. We have to continue to make transformational changes in the way we deliver our services. There’s no getting away how hard we are having to run to stand still.”

The Council welcomed a £17.6m share of the Government’s additional £1bn for social care, which is intended for both children’s and adults’ services – but it will not fully meet the needs of either.

Increased pressures on adult social care are £34.6m for the next year alone. The Council had allocated £6.9m to cover the national living wage and other pressures in the care market – the Government’s recent decision on a higher rate means we are having to fund this £1m extra cost.

Councillor Bill Borrett, cabinet member for adult social care, prevention and public health, said the Council would find the additional £1m and said: “Every penny on the national living wage’s hourly rate adds £200,000 to the council’s care market costs.”

Council leader Councillor Andrew Proctor said the council was keen to work with the new Government on fair and sustainable funding - especially for adult social care and children’s services and for rural councils like Norfolk, who face higher costs to provide services.

He said Norfolk would continue “to take a balanced approach to meet all our residents’ needs, within the finite resources we have.”

The budget proposals will now be considered by the council’s scrutiny committee on 28th January before the full council takes a final decision on 17 February.

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