County council sets its budget

Money for libraries, flooding response and children’s services has been included in the Norfolk County Council budget for recovery, which was decided today.

A £439m net revenue budget, a £102m boost for roads and infrastructure and a 3.99pc council tax rise were all agreed at today’s full council meeting.

County council leader Andrew Proctor said: “This budget not only protects the vital services that we deliver and people value but also sets us on the path to recovery.

“This budget sets out to deliver a better future for Norfolk, to see our residents our communities and businesses all begin to flourish again.”

With covid-19 and other cost pressures on the council, cabinet member for finance Andrew Jamieson said: “We are protecting vital services, investing to tackle flooding, and making as much provision as possible for potential shocks from covid – all without needing to propose the full five per cent council tax increase.

“Looking to the future as we emerge from the pandemic, cabinet will continue to advocate strongly for Norfolk and press Government for our fair share of funding and to bring forward long needed reforms.”

Today’s decision means the council will:

•           Raise general council tax by the government’s guideline figure – 1.99pc – and raise the adult social care precept by 2pc in 2021/22 and 1pc the following year. This would raise the county council’s share of the council tax by 3.99pc – increasing the payment of a band D household by £56.43 to £1,472.94 for 2021-22.

•           Invest £45.7m to meet cost and other pressures in services, including £28.2m in adult social care, £7m in children’s services and £10.5m in community and environmental services.

•           Set aside £18.8m for covid-19 costs in 2021-22.

•           Make savings of £41.2m, including a net £20.4m of new proposals.

•           Invest £102m in the capital programme, taking the total infrastructure programme to £537.66m. New items include £11.5m for supported housing for young adults, £4m for children’s residential homes and investment in the Long Stratton bypass and new libraries.

•           Invest £2m in new funding to respond to flooding, including an additional £350,000 in revenue budget provision, £235,000 in highways spending to reduce road flooding risks and £1.5m for the creation of a new flood reserve to fund urgent works, repairs and to enable recommendations from flood investigation reports.

•           Increase by £4,000 each councillor’s Local Member Fund, taking the total to £10,000 to be made available to local parishes and communities to fund environmental projects.

•           Provide £3m for improvements to greenways, footpaths and the national and Norfolk Trails network in the county.

The budget papers are available at https://norfolkcc.cmis.uk.com/norfolkcc/Meetings/tabid/128/ctl/ViewMeetingPublic/mid/496/Meeting/1661/Committee/2/SelectedTab/Documents/Default.aspx and you can see a recording of the meeting later this week at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tun_oQ2SVm8 .

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