15 February 2015
In the face of proposed massive – over £23million - social service cuts at Norfolk County Council, Green Councillors are to hold out for an anti-cuts budget, based on a modest rise in council tax, to protect the most vulnerable.
Greens say that the current cuts budget and Council Tax freeze proposed by the ‘rainbow alliance’ administration is too damaging to children, elderly and vulnerable people in Norfolk. Instead they are calling for a small rise in council tax – which has been supported by the council’s own public consultation.
Richard Bearman, Leader of the Green Party Group on Norfolk County Council said, “The impact of Government cuts on vulnerable people in Norfolk must be reversed. The effect on future budgets of a small rise in council tax now is significant. This is the only choice at present - we would much prefer to use other methods of financing local services which will have to be developed if central Government cuts all local government funding by 2020 as threatened.”
“The big Westminster parties – the austerity parties – leave no other option but using Council Tax increase this year. Norfolk people are behind this: 74% of people said they would support a 2% council tax rise to be spend on Adults and Children’s social care in the recent budget consultation.”
“A small Council Tax rise will mean frontline services for the elderly can be at least somewhat protected. We cannot and will not support the harsh cuts and unnecessary cuts being imposed on those who need these services the most.”
See notes below for the Green councillor proposals for using a 1.99% Council Tax increase to save vital services which would otherwise be lost from the baseline budget forever.
Lesley Grahame, Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Norwich South, said: “ConDem cuts to local services put ideology above the lives of ordinary people at a time of need. I'm proud of my Green colleagues for their determination and care in developing a strategy to reduce the harm to Norfolk people in unnecessarily tough times."
1A. Norfolk County Council face a cut of £42m (13%) in the amount it receives from the Government in 2015-16 compared to the previous year. This means that the ruling Alliance at County Hall propose £8.3m cuts to Childrens Services and £16.3m cuts to Adult Social Services.
1B. Norwich City Council faces a cut of 6.2%, but the City Hall administration does propose a Council Tax increase.
2. The Greens have calculated that by setting a 1.99% rise in Council in February, and thereafter each year, that by 2019/20, the Council will have £34m more each year to spend on frontline services.
3. Greens would spend £2.9m from a 1.99% Council Tax increase (and accounting for loss of the Council Tax Freeze Grant) on: