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People in Norfolk could see share of council tax to County Hall go up by nearly 6pc

PUBLISHED: 18:49 05 January 2018 | UPDATED: 09:49 06 January 2018

Norfolk County Council is mulling over a 5.99pc hike in its share of the council tax. Picture: Denise Bradley

Norfolk County Council is mulling over a 5.99pc hike in its share of the council tax. Picture: Denise Bradley

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People in Norfolk could see even more added to their council tax bills this year, but council bosses say that could ease strain on services.

Leaders at Norfolk County Council are mulling over whether to increase the share of the council tax bills which go to County Hall by a further one per cent - taking it to just under 6pc. It would raise an extra £4m for services.

The council has, as part of its consultation on cuts and savings, been considering a 4.9pc rise in its share of the bill - 1.9pc for general services and 3pc for adult social care.

But, in the pre-Christmas budget, the government announced it was easing the rules, so councils could levy a further one per cent for general services without having to run a referendum.

The council is considering taking up the government’s offer to allow a 5,99pc increase, which would increase the county council’s share of council tax on a Band D property by £74.74 a year - up to £1,322.68.

Conservative council leader Cliff Jordan said: “I’ve been very clear about the budget pressures we’re facing and the fact that, so far, the government has not provided extra funding.

“My chief finance officer is advising us to accept this offer, which would add £4m to our budget, every year – easing pressure on our services.

“I think we should give this serious consideration. We’ve got rising costs and rising demand for services and have had to budget for a two per cent pay rise for staff.

“No-one likes council tax rises but I also know many people want to ease the strain on our services.”

The council has been consulting over a number of proposals which could save some £40m in the next financial year.

Among the proposals are cuts to bus subsidies, reducing the budget for children’s centres from £10m to £5m, reducing spending on highway maintenance and gritting and changing how people are charged for non-residential services.

Steve Morphew, leader of the opposition Labour group, said, he did not believe the increase would help stave off those cuts and said: “People will be paying a lot more for a lot less.”

And Dan Roper, leader of the Liberal Democrat group, said: “Councillors need the details. Can this increase be used to prevent cuts to services? Or is this increase to paper over holes in budget forecasts?”

The council’s committees will consider budget proposals this month, with the full council making a final decision on Monday, February 12.

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