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Council faces £45.4m savings next year

27 August 2020

Covid 19 has worsened the “extremely challenging” financial situation facing the county council, which is predicting a £129.7 million budget gap over the next four years.

Norfolk County Council is calling for long-term, sustainable funding from the Government, predicting that, without it, the council will have to save £45.4 million next year alone.

Councillor Andrew Jamieson, cabinet member for finance, said: “We’ve been dealing with austerity for a decade and Covid 19 has added to our pressures, through extra costs, reduced Council Tax and other income and ongoing additional demand. The challenges we face have got even tougher.

“We’ve got an excellent track record of balancing the books in testing circumstances but this is getting harder and harder to achieve.

“The Government relied on what it called the “unsung heroes” of local government, during the peak of the pandemic. It’s time to recognise that local government and adult and children’s social care need sustainable, fair funding, to ensure we can continue to keep our communities safe and supported.

“We keep talking to MPs, ministers and the County Councils Network about this and believe funding should be addressed in the Government’s forthcoming Comprehensive Spending Review.”

A report to the council’s cabinet says all councils face an “extremely challenging” outlook, due to “a growing gap between funding and service pressures, driven in part by demographic changes,
unfunded burdens such as the National Living Wage and the needs of vulnerable social care users becoming increasingly complex”.

It warns: “There is a risk that these pressures increase in the medium term, as a result of additional needs driven by the effects of Covid 19 and the associated lockdown.”

Cabinet will consider the report at its next virtual, online meeting, from 10am on Monday, 7 September. View the reports and a link to the meeting.

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