Norfolk County Council to axe 1,000 jobs to save money

About 1,000 jobs are to be axed at Norfolk County Council in the next year, but some cost-cutting plans have been dropped or amended.

The council said it had drawn up new plans following its "Big Conversation" consultation with residents.

The Conservative-run council leader Derrick Murphy is to recommend to cabinet on Monday a revised package to cut £155m over the next three years.

The Green Party said cuts hit the young hard and they would feel targeted.

More than 9,000 residents responded to the consultation.

Mr Murphy's package is designed to help protect the vulnerable as far as possible as well as delivering a promised freeze in council tax, he said.

The threatened subsidy for over-16s' travel to school will continue, eligibility criteria for care funding will not change and there will be a smaller than suggested cut to money spent to keep older people living in their own homes.

'Listened carefully'

Plans to remove the community meals subsidy and a proposed cut in mental health services will both be phased in over two years.

The threat to some school crossing patrols is removed and support for the Duke of Edinburgh's Award scheme is to be continued.

Mr Murphy said reductions in services were unavoidable in the light of the country's financial crisis.

He will present his report to the full council on 14 February.

He said: "This budget has been prepared in the context of one of the most difficult financial periods faced in the county council's long history, if not the most difficult.

"I do hope people, despite any scepticism they may feel about public consultations in general, will recognise that in making these recommendations we have kept our promise to listen carefully to what Norfolk people have said."

Norfolk County Council employs about 10,000 people, a quarter of them part time.

Youth targeted

Philip Hardy, speaking for the Greens the third largest group on the council behind the Conservatives and the Lib Dems, said it was a relief those with substantial care needs escaped heavy cuts.

"However, I am concerned about cuts to youth services and hope new partnerships can be formed with police and groups working with young people," he added.

"With national cuts affecting young people and withdrawal of the Education Maintenance Allowance they will feel unfairly targeted.

"The number of cuts is not as bad as it could have been."

George Nobbs, from the Labour group, said one of the most significant cuts was in the capital spend on roads and property the council owns.

"This is coming down from £205m to £75m. Many private sector companies in the county rely on this and the cut means jobs will be lost there as well as the 1,000 directly employed by the council," he said.

"Many of the cuts that have been reprieved were announced last year and I think that was a softening up process.

"The remaining cuts are harsh and they hit the most vulnerable people because £0.5m is going from the sensory support budget and that hits blind and deaf people."

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