Cuts and Norfolk County Council Cabinet
The term 'Oppposition Councillors' in this article is a little misleading, when in fact LibDems didn't really challenge the cuts (after all, they are part of the 'savage cuts' governing coalition), and no Labour councillors even bothered to turn up! Ie all this was Green work. Well done the Green Party County Councillors!:
Norfolk County Council pushes ahead with £10m cuts plan
Last updated: 12/07/2010 17:24:00
Norfolk County Council's ruling cabinet recommended the cuts plan at a meeting today, which will now be put to the full council for a final decision on July 26.
The proposals, which follow a decision by ministers to cut £6.2bn in public spending this year, will see 65 jobs lost in the Connexions service with its budget halved, and the putting on hold of nearly 60 local road safety schemes.
But opposition councillors urged the cabinet to think again and the Greens said the council would save £3.44m by scrapping work on the A47 Postwick Junction, near Norwich, and they urged the council to scrap work on the Norwich Northern distributor road, because they believe it is unlikely to get approval from central government.
The Greens also said that the authority should use the some of the £1.56m freed up by the government's cancellation of the Building Schools for the Future Scheme to offset the effects on the Connexions service for the current financial year.
But the cabinet said the nature of the grant funding from the government meant that it had to make immediate cash savings because it would have to save more money the longer a decision is taken to make cuts.
Iain Mackie, cabinet member for finance and performance, said other councils in the country had adopted a similar approach to Norfolk.
"These are unprecedented times, to think we would be immune from this would be naïve," Mr Mackie said. "We are not in a position to readily fund these services where the grants have been reduced. The savings required are ongoing and also require ongoing reductions. We have neither the money nor the resources available to fund this."
Green group leader Phil Hardy, said the council needed to assess the impact of all the cuts properly before wielding the axe, and he said the using the BSF money to offset the Connexions cut would give staff more time to find a new job.
Meanwhile, Adrian Gunson, cabinet member for planning and transportation, said while the council would keep progress on the Norwich northern distributor road down to a bare minimum, it would not scrap it, and he confirmed the authority would not carry out any design work on the third river crossing at Great Yarmouth.
He also said the authority would continue to explore other sources of funding for the NDR scheme, following news from the Department for Transport that the government could not promise it would hand over the £67.5m promised for the road by the previous Labour government.
"The need to deliver the NDR project has not diminished and we will continue to press the case," Mr Gunson said. "We will continue to progress the NDR programme at a slower rate."