Despite Covid and “extremely challenging” pressures, the county council has developed budget proposals to lead Norfolk’s recovery next year.
That’s the message from a report to Norfolk County Council’s cabinet, which outlines tax, spending and investment proposals for the year from April.
Councillor Andrew Jamieson, cabinet member for finance, said: “We’re facing extremely challenging times, with the financial costs of fighting Covid, on top of declining Government grant and rising general pressures.
“Against that backdrop, I’m proud to propose a robust, balanced budget that will lead Norfolk’s recovery from Covid.
“The budget will not only support the most vulnerable people in our county but will also shift investment towards key community services like libraries and invest in broadband and physical infrastructure, to kickstart our battered economy.
“Following the recent floods, we are investing £1.5 million in flood repairs. And we will also protect our footpaths and cycle routes, which have been so valuable for our health and wellbeing during the pandemic.
“We will continue to press the Government for sustainable future funding for all council services, including adult social care, so that we can continue our investment in future years.”
The meeting will consider two reports:
the proposed £439 million revenue budget – spending on services and running costs, funded by Council Tax, Business Rates and Government funding. By law, this budget must always be balanced
the proposed £537 million capital budget – spending on infrastructure – funded by Government grants, land sales and borrowing.
The revenue budget report says that the council has seen its Government funding reduce by £92.8 million since 2015, while cost pressures on children’s services and adults’ services rose by £40.1 million, last year alone.
The council is proposing to:
Raise general Council Tax by the Government’s guideline figure – 1.99 per cent – and raise the adult social care precept by two per cent in 2021/22 and one per cent the following year. This would raise the county council’s overall share of Council Tax by 3.99 per cent, increasing the share of band D bills by £56.43 to £1,472.94 for 2021-22.
Invest £45.7 million to meet cost and other pressures in services, including £28.2 million in adult social care, £7 million in children’s services and £10.5 million in community and environmental services
Make provision of £18.8 million, set aside for Covid 19 costs in 2021-22
Make savings of £41.2 million, including a net £20.4 million of new proposals
Invest £102 million in the capital programme, taking the total infrastructure programme to £537.66 million. New items include £11.5 million for supported housing for young adults, £4 million for children’s residential homes and investment in the Long Stratton bypass, new libraries and green trails. Existing schemes include 500 new special school places, extra care housing for adults, better broadband links and the Great Yarmouth third river crossing.
Cabinet will discuss the revenue and capital reports when it meets at 10am on Tuesday, 1 February. You can read the reports and view the meeting live – or a recording afterwards – at https://norfolkcc.cmis.uk.com/norfolkcc/Meetings/tabid/128/ctl/ViewMeetingPublic/mid/496/Meeting/1672/Committee/169/SelectedTab/Documents/Default.aspx .
Once cabinet has met, the budget proposals will be considered by the council’s scrutiny committee on Wednesday, 17th February, before the full council takes a final decision on Monday, 22nd February.