The government has just announced what funding will be coming to Norfolk County Council to pay for local services. It’s not easy to make a statement about Local Government Finance interesting or even understandable to most of us but I will do my best.
The EDP (and Councillor Jamieson) do a decent job of explaining the settlement here. You can also read the full briefing given to me as a councillor here: Provisional Settlement Briefing Note 19-12-2022.
If the County Council increases Council Tax by 5% (the maximum it is allowed to without calling a referendum), it will have £81 million more to spend next year, an increase of 10.5%.
The government is consulting on the Settlement and if you are interested in having your say, you can find the details of the consultation here. You have until 16 January to respond. Scroll down to Appendix B in the link to find the specific questions they are asking but, also, don’t be put off by the format and the jargon – have your say in general terms if you want to.
For Norfolk residents, the key thing (apart from the likely increase of 5% in Council Tax) is that planned cuts in spending on services will still go ahead. The briefing says that the extra money from the government will not quite cover the additional costs that the Council faces from inflation and increases in staff wages.
More than two fifths of the savings will need to come from the Adult Social Care budget, reducing its annual budget by close to £50 million by 2027. After years of cutting hard at the Children’s Services budget, that department is still expected to cut more than £27 million from its annual budget by 2027. Community and Environmental Services (which includes Highways) will need to cut its spending by £28 million a year by 2027. You can see the details of the Council’s Medium Term Financial Plan here (from page 27 onwards).