Monday, February 17, 2014
Norfolk County Council has set its budget for next year - by a narrow margin.
The Labour/Liberal Democrat administration, which has support from UKIP had proposed a budget which will pave the way for £167m of savings and cuts over the next three years.
From reductions in library staff and school crossing patrols to less money to fix roads and charging for recycling, the proposals were outlined in a consultation called Putting People First.
But the Conservatives voted against the budget and only an 11th hour deal brokered with the Greens saw the budget over the line.
It was agreed by 41 to 39, with one abstention.
Two of the most contentious proposals were to cut subsidies for transport for 16 to 19 year old students and to reduce spending on personal budgets in adult social services.
The cabinet had suggested a year’s stay of execution for those cuts, although the savings will still have to be made over the three years.
An extra £3m, as previously agreed, is earmarked for the troubled children’s services department.
The £308.3m budget for next year is predicated on a freeze for council tax.
A Green amendment, calling for a 3.5pc council tax increase, which would have been used to safeguard personal budgets and some school services was lost this morning.
But a UKIP amendment, including reducing cuts to Trading Standards, making money available to help carers and creating a £250k emergency coastal erosion fund was voted through and became part of that substantive motion which was discussed this afternoon.
The deal agreed with the Greens, which saw two of them vote with the administration, will mean a review into the cuts to personal budgets and confirmation that there will be an extraordinary council meeting with a vote on whether to push ahead with the incinerator at King’s Lynn.