March 8 2014 Latest news:
Saturday, February 22, 2014
Council cuts, which will hit services across Norfolk, will start to bite within months – after local authorities approved their budgets for the next financial year.
Here are the agreed savings for 2014/15 in each department at Norfolk County Council, along with some examples of the cuts which are looming
Children’s services – £12.6m (Putting People First cuts) + £500k further savings
Reducing the number of young people coming into care and the cost of looked-after children (£5.2m).
Changing how childminders, nurseries and other providers are supported (£2.7m)
Reducing funding for restorative approaches (£160k).
Adult social care – £15.7m
Reducing number of adult care service users who get transport (£1.8m).
Stop ongoing spend on the Strong and Well programme (£500k).
Scale back housing-related services and focus on the most vulnerable people (£1.2m).
Cultural services – £2m
Reduce spend on library books (£350k).
Reduce number of library staff (£350k).
Reduce how often mobile libraries call at some places (£109k).
Environment, transport and development – £14.6m
Reduce highway maintenance for one year (£1m).
Stop routine disposal of paint at some recycling centres (£300k).
Reduce subsidy for the Coasthopper bus (£75k).
Fire and Rescue Service – £1.7m
Stop supplying and fitting free smoke detectors (£80k).
Resources – £6.7m (Putting People First cuts) + £3m other savings
Reduce and restructure staff in ICT Services (£1.8m).
Reduce staff in finance (£800k).
Norfolk County Council agreed to a package of £167m of cuts, savings and reductions on Monday, which will see big changes to its services.
The public will start noticing changes from April, with reductions in library staff and books, an end to free smoke detectors and less money being spent on the county’s roads, likely to be among the more visible consequences.
Other changes will include reductions in mobile library visits, charging to get rid of tyres at recycling centres and Norfolk Record Office shutting on Saturday mornings.
On the changes to libraries, a spokesman for Norfolk County Council said: “For libraries savings, all affected mobile library services will be reduced from fortnightly to four-weekly visits by the end of this financial year.
“Some mobile libraries will still continue to make fortnightly visits.
“The reduction in the book stock fund will come in from April, but spending on books happens throughout the year each year so there won’t be a sudden change.”
But the £76m of savings in the first year includes a great deal behind the scenes, which will not be so obvious to the general public.
That includes reducing the number of children in care, saving £1.8m by reducing the number of adult care service users who get free transport and axing funding for school services such as the wellbeing and Healthy Norfolk Schools.
Housing-related services will also be scaled back to save £1.2m in the year ahead, so only the most vulnerable will get help with the likes of claiming benefits and support to prevent losing accommodation.
Another cut is the subsidy for the Norfolk Coasthopper bus, which will lose the £75,000 it currently gets.
The service, which runs along the west and north Norfolk coast, was bought by international company Stagecoach Bus Holdings last December.
New managing director Andrew Dyer said he was confident the summer timetable would run, but that the position was not definite for the winter season.
The cuts and savings will also see a loss of about 190 jobs at the council in the next year. A council spokesman said: “In 2014/15 we’re estimating there will be around 190 job losses and around 140 of these will be through redundancy. Some job losses linked to the budget savings will take place by the end of this financial year, and the people affected are already aware of this.
“For others, periods of consultation and restructuring of teams need to take place first, and this is likely to happen throughout the next financial year, with timings varying from department to department and saving to saving.”
Norwich City Council also agreed a package of £2.2m worth of cuts and savings this week. That includes a “gradual increase” in cemetery fees and charges for allotments, charging for replacing wheelie bins and finding ways to bring in more money at St Andrew’s Hall and the Norman Centre.
What’s your view on the cuts? Write, giving full contact details, to Letters Editor, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE.