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Page last updated at 05:09 GMT, Wednesday, 16 June 2010 06:09 UK
Norfolk to expect spending cuts
By Paul Moseley
BBC Norfolk

Spending cuts graphic
Spending cuts are being planned in Norfolk's public sector

Jobs, services and housing projects planned by councils in Norfolk are all under threat from government cuts.

How severe those will be is unclear, with authorities awaiting next week's emergency budget and a Comprehensive Spending Review later this year.

Some of the funding has already been lost though.

Last week the government announced that it would cut back on the grants given to many councils, which make up the bulk of their funding.

Norfolk County Council said it had lost close to £10m, with most of that being money that would have been spent on education and transport.

One project cancelled is a low-carbon bus service that would have travelled from Norwich to Attleborough, via Wymondham.

It comes at a time when the organisation is already aiming to make savings of £140m over two years.

"We know that we can streamline services better," said council leader Daniel Cox.

"We've got an organisational review programme currently under way that's looking at senior managers and is running right through the organisation."

Grant allocations

Norwich City Council and Great Yarmouth Borough Council both saw their revenue grant allocations fall by 2% - the joint highest drops in the country.

In Norwich that equates to £355,000, with the bulk of that money spent on supporting new local businesses.

"We're really disappointed that a government which is arguing very strongly about the need for business growth are removing something which has helped 500 business start-ups and 6,000 people with advice," said Cllr Alan Waters, executive member for Corporate Resources.

Great Yarmouth Borough Council saw its grant funding fall by £308,000.

These cuts are all for this financial year, something which Cllr Stephen Ames, cabinet member for Corporate Resources, said was very unusual.

"Certain officers here have many years service and have never ever come across anything like it before," he explained.

"I think everyone's going to suffer over the next few years and we have to live within our means."

Working together

Norwich City Council
Norwich City Council has seen its revenue grant allocation fall

One way that publicly funded bodies are trying to find savings is by working together.

Norfolk Police recently revised their savings target of £15 million over three years to £16 million.

Chief Constable Phil Gormley said the constabulary was looking at how it could share resources in areas like IT and back-office support.

"We are working very hard with colleagues, principally Suffolk, to understand what sort of savings we can take out of that," he said.

Major building projects that rely on government funding could be postponed or cancelled altogether.

The government has already put back a decision on completely dualling the A11 until the autumn of 2010, while schemes like the Northern Distributor Road in Norwich are under threat.

The Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) is also reviewing its funding for local authorities.

That could affect several projects in Norfolk, including thousands of homes planned for Norwich and residential development of the NORA site in King's Lynn.

Breckland council leader William Nunn said his council had been expecting millions for homes across the district.

"In Thetford alone we've probably got something like £16 million that has been allocated at the moment, but whether that's secure we don't know," he said.

"We're told that the budget's on 22 June - there will be more clarity from that, but until each individual agency's given its own budget obviously we can't understand what that will mean to us."




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