Norfolk pledges investment in children and adults

Norfolk County Council is proposing significant extra investment in adults’ and children’s services as part of the authority’s latest budget, but maintains that sustainable, long-term government funding is still required.

The latest £427.7 million net budget proposals, funded by a proposed 3.99 per cent Council Tax rise, contains a series of prudent measures to balance the books next year – tackling what was originally predicted to be a £36 million budget gap in 2020/21.

The council is funding £65 million of additional service pressures next year, with significant investment in adult’s and children’s services. This includes £34.6 million for adult social care, including £6.1 million for demographic pressures, £7.6 million for inflation and £7.9 million for pay and price pressures. There has also been £23.3 million set aside for for children’s services, including £3.7 million for inflation, £11 million for budget pressures including children looked after, £4.5 million for home to school transport and £7.1 million for staffing pressures, including investment in the service’s new operating model and resolving the structural budget gap

The council is additionally investing £887,000 in the fire service, to support the proposals in the integrated risk management plan, and supporting the environment policy, with a budget rising to £350,000 over two years.

Andrew Jamieson, cabinet member for finance, said: “Although we’re putting significant extra investment into adult social care and children’s services, we are effectively running to stand still, in the face of rising demand and costs. We welcome the government’s commitment to tackle adult social care funding and we look forward to working with them on this and fair funding for councils.”

The cabinet is to consider a total of £38.2 million of savings and additional income for 2020-21, including savings agreed in previous budget rounds. The cabinet will also consider proposals within the medium-term financial strategy for up until 2023-24.