The County Council needs to slice another £46 million off its spending next year. It was interesting, and alarming, to see the Conservative councillor in charge of finances announce in the press that without extra help from the government the council could end up like Birmingham and Northamptonshire and effectively have to declare itself bankrupt. I hope that was a bit of politics done in the week of the Conservative Party conference because if not, services for people in Norfolk will be hit hard.
Pressures facing the council include:
- Price inflation (including wages) of £12.5 million, including £7 million in adult social care and £3.2 million in children’s services
- Demographic pressures (increasing demand), including £5.5 million in adult social care and £9.5 million in children’s services
So far, £26.5 million of savings have been proposed and the remainder will be developed over the next few months:
- Adult social services, £14.2 million
- Children’s services, £4.8 million
- Community and environmental services, £5.5 million
- Strategy, transformation and finance £1.9 million
There will be a public consultation on the budget over the autumn. The current proposals include a Council Tax increase of 4.99 per cent, including the adult social care precept of two per cent.
As always, we wait to hear whether more funding will be provided in the autumn statement in November, or the provisional local government funding settlement in December.
The council makes a final decision on the budget in February.