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County councillors agree budget and allowances rise

Norfolk County Council is to raise councillors’ allowances for the third year running after also agreeing to increasing council tax.

The council voted for the two per cent increase, despite an independent advice panel discouraging them from doing so.

The Labour Party members opposed the move, with only one Conservative councillor, Rhodri Oliver, also voting against it.

The third year running that councillors' allowances have risen.
The third year running that councillors' allowances have risen.

The latest pay increase is far from the most extravagant seen in recent times however, with councillors giving themselves an 11 per cent allowance boost back in 2017.

In addition, the council also passed a 3.99 per cent rise in council tax – 1.99 per cent for general Council Tax and two per cent under the Government’s adult social care precept.

This will see the county council’s share of band D bills rise by £54.27, to £1,416.51.

The council outlined its plans for its £430.4 million budget, in which it hopes to boost children’s and adults’ services.

Cllr Andrew Jamieson, cabinet member for finance, said: “You have a budget before you today that is robust, balanced and sees not only services maintained but invested in.”

The council says this budget is larger than originally proposed in January, due to £2.7 million additional Council Tax income from the district councils, which was higher than forecast.

Cllr Andrew Proctor, the council’s leader, said: “We are setting this council on course for a balanced budget for 2020/21.

“We will continue to deliver vital services to all the people of Norfolk, within our finite means. We are not hiding from the financial challenges of future years.”

With the tax boost, the council says, it has allowed the further cost pressures in children’s services to be addressed, with £70m allocated for things including home to school transport, staffing pressures, for investment in the service’s new operating model and resolving the structural budget gap.

Also there will be £887,000 in the fire service and a budget of £350,000 to support the council’s environment policy.

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