Norfolk

Norfolk County Council: Extra cuts to hit children's services

Norfolk County Council
Image caption Norfolk County Council said the cuts may be necessary if its bid for more money from the government fails

Major budget cuts to children's and adult services are being planned by Norfolk County Council as the authority seeks to save an extra £40m in 2020-21.

The council said the cuts may be necessary if its bid for more money from the government fails.

Its plans include a £9m cut to adult services and £4.5m to child services.

The government has been reducing grants to local authorities around the country, but pointed to "a real terms increase" in funds this year.

Conservative-run Norfolk council is also looking at £5m of cuts to the community and environmental services budget and a £1m cut to the finance and commercial services budget.

It is also looking at administrative and efficiency savings from its budget of about £1.4bn a year.

Image caption Protests were held over plans to close about 70% of children's centres in Norfolk to help save £5m from the children's budget

The £40m is on top of £30m of cuts already earmarked over the next few years.

Council leader Andrew Proctor said he was confident the savings could be made without hitting services.

"We continue to engage positively with Norfolk MPs and the government to ensure that they not only understand the issues but do something about it," he said.

Leader of the Labour group on the council, Steve Morphew, said: "I don't know where these cuts are going to come from. We've been predicting a crisis for a long time. There isn't enough money, there's too much demand, and the government quite frankly isn't taking a blind bit of notice."

The government is planning to end the revenue support grant in 2020-21.

A Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government spokesman said: "Councils are democratically elected bodies responsible for making their own financial decisions and managing their resources.

"Local authorities will have access to £46.4bn this year, a real terms increase that will strengthen services, support local communities and help councils meet the needs of their residents."

In January, the council announced plans to close about 70% of children's centres in Norfolk to help save £5m from the children's budget, as part of previous savings, sparking major protests.

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