We store cookies on your device to make sure we give you the best experience on this website. I'm fine with this - Turn cookies off
Switch to an accessible version of this website which is easier to read. (requires cookies)

County Council Budget

February 13, 2018 3:05 PM
Originally published by Liberal Democrat Group on Norfolk County Council

Steff Aquarone

You may have heard that the Conservative-controlled County Council passed its budget yesterday, raising council tax by 6% and putting an unexpected £3m bonus from Central Government into reserves rather than investing it in services.

The Liberal Democrats proposed a series of costed, pragmatic proposals that put people first, which were dismissed by the Conservatives.

The proposals were:

1. To slow down the £50 million cuts to Adult Social Care so they happen over 4 years rather than 3. At the moment the cuts are being frontloaded so that there are very limited cuts in the final year of the council.

Our position throughout the year so far is that this is unnecessary, and we suspect it is simply being done this way to avoid making cuts in the year of the next election.

2. To put money back into our Libraries to ensure valued members of staff remained in post. Modern libraries are many good things, but without librarians they cannot perform the outreach and guidance role that is central to their purpose.

Marie Strong

(Marie Strong presenting a petition from 397 people on behalf of Friends of Wells Library to Chairman of Council @NorfolkCC - it expressed concern over staff losses and any future cuts to the service provided by our libraries).

3.To reverse the 40% cut to the Mobile Library service that will all but decimate it. It is too important a service for too many vulnerable and older people to be lost. This item will be re-debated next year as the planned cuts aren't until 2019/20.

4.To ensure all children's centres stay open for at least another year.

We understand from officers that £1.5m of savings have been found - and with £750k reallocation we could have ensured that not a single Children's Centre would close. (https://norfolklibdemcountycouncillors.co.uk/en/article/2018/1255156/children-s-centres-supporting-families)

5.To reverse cuts to Adult Services by protecting Day Care for older people and Building Resilient Lives (housing support) services.

We wanted to slow down the cuts to Adult Services to give time for proper support to be put into place. We have seen the effect of these cuts in sheltered housing where the loss of emergency alarms is part of trend of removing critical service form the housing to the extent you wonder what sheltered housing means anymore.

6.We haven't forgotten how often we are asked about the need for better and more pothole repairs. So we proposed to spend more money on those repairs to be funded by a 10% reduction in Councillors allowances.

7.Finally, contrary to Conservative accusations, we did agree to put something aside for a rainy day, leaving some of the additional money to protect against the Tory overspending that we expect this year on Children Services and Adult Social Care. It is interesting that the Tories have even less faith in being able to stick to their budget than we do - putting all the extra money into reserves to cover their overspending!

Steffan Aquarone, Deputy Group leader who proposed the amendments said:

"As disappointed and annoyed that I was that the Tories voted down our proposals in such a nasty manner - they cheered and clapped when approving their cuts to the most vulnerable in our communities - I was delighted that we had already campaigned successfully to reverse cuts to bus subsidies, grit bins and road gritting. This is a big win for rural communities."

We will continue campaigning for our local communities and when we are in your community please let us know those issues that matter to you.

You can sign up to receive updates on our efforts at County Hall at: (https://norfolklibdemcountycouncillors.co.uk/en/subscribe-by-email)

PS Below shows where we would have got the money from for our proposals:

2018/19

Children's Centres

£0.750m

From the Norfolk Futures transformation budget

£0.500m

From Treasury Management

£0.250m

Day Care Services

£1.000m

From Treasury Management

£0.500m

From additional Adult Social Care Support Grant

£0.500m

Library Staff

£0.145m

From Treasury Management

£0.145m

Pothole Repairs

£0.100m

From 10% reduction in Councillors Allowances

£0.100m

Building Resilient Lives

£1.612m

From additional Adult Social Care Support Grant

£1.612m

Social Care Reserves

£0.500m

From additional Adult Social Care Support Grant

£0.500m

General Reserves

£0.786

From additional Rural Services Delivery Grant

£0.786

2019/20

Mobile Libraries

£0.200m

From an increase in the Council Tax base

£0.200m