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City Hall leader issues warning over further cuts to services

Alan Waters, leader of Norwich City Council. Pic: Jeff Taylor.

Alan Waters, leader of Norwich City Council. Pic: Jeff Taylor.

Archant

Millions of pounds of further cuts to council services will have to be made in the years ahead, the leader of Norwich City Council has warned.

And Alan Waters said local government would have to battle for survival in the coming years in the face of less money coming from Whitehall.

The city council has just agreed to take a four-year funding settlement from the government, giving the authority a degree of certainty over how much money it will have, with some £5.4m earmarked in revenue support grants up to 2020. But the government is only giving the money on the condition that local councils provide an “efficiency plan” detailing where savings will be made.

And that means the council is having to look at saving £2.3m a year from now until 2020.

A report by council officers stated: “We will use our best endeavours to focus on income generation, efficiencies through remodelling of services, and reducing cost pressures wherever possible, but inevitably will have to consider reductions in service levels and stopping of services to meet the level of savings required.”

Labour’s Mr Waters said: “We shall not go quietly into that dark night, although the situation as it stands is pretty dire.

“There is lots of uncertainty out there and we will press the new chancellor so he gives a fresh deal for local government.

“We need to ensure all sections of the community know where this will lead if we do not have local government which is properly financed. The next few years are going to be a battle for local government in this city and across the country.

“The cuts in local government expenditure have simply resulted in dysfunction and an inability to meet the needs of citizens across this country.”

The government said the four-year settlement was “unprecedented” and allowed councils to “plan ahead with confidence”.

The city council is due to start its budget setting for next year in the weeks ahead, with the public set to be consulted over the way forward.

Do you have a story about a local council? Call Dan Grimmer on 01603 772375 or email dan.grimmer@archant.co.uk

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