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Latest budget proposals published

03 January 2020

Significant extra investment in adults’ and children’s services is proposed in the county council’s latest budget – but sustainable, long-term Government funding is still required.

That’s the message as Norfolk County Council publishes 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.

Councillor Andrew Jamieson, cabinet member for finance, said: “We’re proposing a series of prudent measures to balance the books next year – tackling what was originally predicted to be a £36m budget gap in 2020/21.

“That buys us time to encourage the new Government to resolve the long-term pressures facing us and other county councils.

“Although we’re putting significant extra investment into adult social care and children’s services, we’re effectively running to stand still, in the face of rising demand and costs.

“We welcome the Government’s commitment to tackle adult social care funding and we look forward to working with them on this and fair funding for councils.”

The Council is funding £65m of additional service pressures next year, with significant investment in adult’s and children’s services:

  • £34.6m for adult social care, including £6.1m for demographic pressures, £7.6m for inflation and £7.9m for pay and price pressures
  • £23.3m for children’s services, including £3.7m for inflation, £11m for budget pressures including children looked after, £4.5m for home to school transport and £7.1m for staffing pressures, including investment in the service’s new operating model and resolving the structural budget gap

In addition, the Council is:

  • Investing £887,000 in the fire service, to support the proposals in the integrated risk management plan
  • Supporting the environment policy, with a budget rising to £350,000 over two years

Following public consultation, the cabinet is to consider a total of £38.2m of savings and additional income for 2020-21, including savings agreed in previous budget rounds. The cabinet will also consider proposals within the medium-term financial strategy for up until 2023-24.

The council has budgeted to save £395m between 2011-12 and 2019-20. Over that time, its funding from the Government has reduced by £220m and cost pressures have risen by £440m.

Cabinet will consider the budget proposals when it meets at 10am on Monday, 13 January. The meeting will be webcast live via YouTube and a recording will be available online the following day.

The full Council will take the final decision on 17 February.

Background

The key points 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
  • Total savings and increased income of £38.2m for 2020-21, rising to a total of £61.8m over four years. The new proposals for the next year are:
    • Adult Social Services: £7.2m – including saving £3.8m by increasing home and accommodation-based 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: £2.2m – 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 releasing £500,000 from organisational change budgets
    • Business transformation: £760,000 through making the council’s processes more modern, efficient and business-like
  • A forecast budget gap of £89.1m by 2023-24, which includes a gap of £35.5m to be addressed in 2021-22.

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