Labour-run Norwich City Council has passed a balanced budget that puts people first, invests in our city, supports residents through the cost of living crisis and protects services.
This has been achieved despite the chaos and cuts to councils 13 years of Tory rule has resulted in. Demand for services has increased, inflation is running at over 10% and it is anticipated that Norwich City Council will receive just 7% of the funds it needs from central government. Labour has worked innovatively and responsibly to bring in income and transform services so we can continue delivering for residents.
More local people than ever responded to this year’s budget consultation. We have listened to this and are continuing to invest in the services you told us matter the most, including housing, environmental services and parks and open spaces. This budget lays out nearly £30m of investment for 2023-24 to deliver important infrastructure, invest in skills and support the local economy. There is also an additional £36m of investment in housing, to improve our existing 14,500-strong housing stock and build 230 further much-needed homes. Provision has been made for an extra £3.1 million (on top of the £10.9 million we spend annually) to invest in environmental services and to enhance our 23 parks, 81 open spaces and 56 natural areas. A new £100k Love Norwich Fund was introduced by this budget to help tackle fly-tipping and other environmental crimes, with measures such as CCTV cameras expected to be financed through it.
We are also protecting our 100% council tax discount for those residents most in need, which is one of the most extensive Council Tax Reduction Schemes in the country. This is one of the most direct ways we can help residents who are struggling with the cost of living crisis and other effects of Tory austerity.
Norwich Green councillors failed to back the budget – disagreeing among themselves whether they should vote against or abstain – or to put forward a sound alternative of their own.
Cllr Alan Waters, Labour Leader of Norwich City Council, says:
“This year’s budget wasn’t just about identifying how to bridge our £6.2m budget gap – it was also a budget about investment.
We’ve taken full account of the bigger picture as well as paying attention to the details. This means we’ve met the financial challenge head-on while also being able to invest in the things that really matter to the people of Norwich.”
Councillor Paul Kendrick, cabinet member for resources, says:
“With our careful financial management, which isn’t just about looking one year ahead, but up to five.
I believe the council is in a strong and positive place to meet the challenges of the next few years. And most importantly, realise the significant opportunities ahead for the city.”