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Norfolk council cuts unveiled

PUBLISHED: 20:00 10 June 2010 | UPDATED: 17:11 01 July 2010

Daniel Cox.

Daniel Cox.

The pain has begun for councils in Norfolk and Suffolk after the government announced they would be more than £15m worse off next year.

The pain has begun for councils in Norfolk and Suffolk after the government announced they would be more than £15m worse off next year.

The government set out £1.2bn of cuts in local government funding today and Norwich City Council and Great Yarmouth Borough Council are among the hardest hit councils in the country.

Norfolk County Council will see the money it gets from Whitehall slashed by just over £10m, with a little over £4m of that coming from the money it receives to support schools and its leader said cuts to services were likely.

The county's revenue grant from central government wil be cut by just over £5.9m (0.8pc) this financial year and a £2m scheme to start low carbon buses running down the A11 from Attleborough to Norwich via Wymondham has been axed after the grant from the Department of Transport was axed.

Both Norwich and Great Yarmouth will see a reduction of 2pc in their revenue grant allocations - of £355,000 and £308,000 respectively. No council had their grant reduced by a higher percentage and just six others were hit as badly.

Breckland District Council will get a £64,000 cut (0.6pc), King's Lynn and West Norfolk's grant will be reduced by £48,000 (0.3pc), Waveney

District Council loses £18,000 (0.1pc) and Suffolk County Council's revenue grant is slashed by £4.1m (0.6pc).

Broadland District Council, South Norfolk Council and North Norfolk District Council will not see a reduction in their revenue grants.

Daniel Cox, leader of Conservative controlled Norfolk County Council, said: “It would be a lie to say these cuts in funding will fall easily coming in-year as they do. But the simple truth, which most people recognise, is that the country's finances are on their knees. Unless the coalition government takes firm action right from the start, we will all suffer a great deal more.

“We will examine the list of cuts swiftly and when we cannot afford to fund things further we will say so clearly and look for possible other ways of funding or running them. If we can't find them, then they will have to cease.

“We are a very efficient council, working hard to become ever more so. We do not want or expect taxpayers to carry any extra burdens for local services so we must cut our cloth accordingly. People expect that because it is no more than many families are already doing for themselves.”

The bulk of cash being taken away from Norwich City Council is for the Local Enterprise Growth Initiative (LEGI) scheme - which has been running for three years and helps get new businesses off the ground.

Steve Morphew, leader of Labour controlled Norwich City Council, accused the government of hitting poorer areas hardest.

He said: “I think we always knew this was what the Tories had in mind and what the Lib Dems have been suckered into - bashing the least able to manage.

“Leafy suburbs take no pain, so the bankers and people responsible for getting us into this state can lecture us on the need to cut the deficit while those innocent victims are asked where they would like the pain inflicted on them.

“It is quite remarkable how quickly the need to deal with the deficit has transformed into a dogmatic attack on public services and is making victims of the less well off.

“This is old fashioned right wing anti-public service Thatcherism that will destroy jobs and services and see to it that only the strong and the rich can sleep easy at night.”

Brandon Lewis, Conservative MP for Great Yarmouth said he was confident the borough council would find ways to manage the cuts and said: “We are going to have to bear some pain, all of us.”

The government says the savings plan is the first step to tackle the £156bn deficit inherited from the previous government and ministers have given careful consideration to how savings can be found without affecting the quality of key frontline services.

The £29bn general grant, the main source of funding that local government receives every year, is not being reduced.

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