Norfolk County Council set for council tax freeze

Norfolk County Council looks set to freeze its share of the council tax for the second year in a row, despite the authority's need to save �75m over the next two years.

The Conservative-run cabinet at County Hall, will next week receive a report which shows how the authority is on target to make �60m of savings this year.

It shows that �75m more still needs to be saved from 2012 to 2014, but makes clear the authority does not intend to plug the gap by increasing its share of the council tax.

Ian Mackie, Norfolk County Council's deputy leader and cabinet member for finance and performance, said: 'We know that many households in Norfolk are under considerable financial pressure from rising costs and bills. The county council also faces these rising costs.

'However we are determined to do everything we can not to add to household financial concerns during this very difficult period for our country.

'Therefore I am pleased to report that we will again be planning the 2012/13 budget on a zero council tax increase - this will be unprecedented in the history of the council to have two years at zero council tax increase.'

The county council's Big Conversation, carried out last year, identified up to �155m of savings which the county council needed to save up to 2014.

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That has seen a swathe of cuts to services, including the county council no longer directly providing a youth service, shifting away from providing day services to elderly people, cutting library opening hours and axing the equivalent of 750 full-time jobs.

Mr Mackie said: 'I am delighted that the county council is on target to meet its savings target for 2011/12. An enormous amount of work by staff and councillors has been going on in order to transform many of our services.

'Our efficiencies programme has left no stone unturned in order to balance the budget and support frontline services as best as possible.

The county council gets the lion's share of money (more than 70pc) in each council tax bill in Norfolk. The rest of the money goes to the district council and Norfolk Police Authority, while areas which are served by parish councils also pay a small amount to them.

A final decision on council tax for 2012/13 will be made by the county council in February next year, when councillors agree the budget for the year ahead.