Norfolk councils discover scale of government cuts

Council bosses across Norfolk were today reaching for the calculators to establish the scale of the cuts they face after the government outlined the settlements local authorities will receive.

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles, in announcing the local government settlement for local authorities in England over the next two years, said no authority would face a cut in its spending power of more than 8.9pc.

There had been concern that funding from central government to councils would be slashed by 10pc, but Mr Pickles said councils in England would face an average cuts of 4.4pc in their spending power over the next two years.

He also unveiled the long-awaited Localism Bill, which he said would devolve greater power and freedoms to councils and neighbourhoods, establish powerful new rights for communities, revolutionise the planning system, and give communities control over housing decisions.

Councils in Norfolk are studying the figures to establish what the reductions in government cash will mean for their local authority, but it appears the worst fears of authorities have been confirmed.

With the likes of Norfolk County Council already looking to shave �155m off its budget over the next three years, cuts are still set to bite.

However, John Fuller, leader of South Norfolk Council, said the outlook might not be as bleak as it seems.

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He said: 'Cuts in grant won't necessarily mean cuts on the ground if we are prepared to work in different ways - including with other councils and organisations.

'It strips out costs and duplication from services and is what you expect your local council to do. It is what we will do.' • See tomorrow's Evening News for full analysis of what the cuts mean for our local councils.