South Norfolk Councillors have agreed the budget for the coming year

10 pound note with a pen and calculator

In an historic move all but two members voted in favour, with no members voting against the £64 million budget at the full council meeting on Wednesday night.

South Norfolk Council Leader, John Fuller said:

“Passing this budget will ensure the Council can continue to deliver the high performing services to our residents that improve and enhance their quality of life, support local businesses and protect the environment.

“Council Tax is exactly 30pc less than inflation would otherwise have been since 2007 but there have been no cuts - we are doing twice as much as before.

“Over two decades we have grown our district as we have grown our Council. We have done this by earning a pound, not cutting pounds. By embracing growth and ensuring that community facilities are built alongside the construction of new homes: new village halls, schools, green spaces, sports facilities and every home lost to the right-to-buy has been replaced. And we are now on the cusp of a £100m capital investment program in the place we call home.”

“I can’t forget that last May the electorate spoke and a much more balanced Conservative-led Council was the result. And I think now is a moment to recognise that, regardless of how we might have approached things in the past, councillors of all shades can and must have the opportunity to shape the work we do.

“So, it’s in that spirit of cross-party work that I want to thank the Group Leaders for their ideas, comments and input into shaping this budget and some one-off supplementary items funded from the income from investments we have received this year.”

The supplementary paper was agreed with cross-party support that the Council allocates the following additional sums:

  • £145,548 to top-up the Leisure Support Reserve to £1m, to be used to support the leisure service £250,000 per annum for the next 4 years.
  • £355,000 into the 'Household Support Fund', to double existing support for hard pressed families in 2024/25.
  • £100,000 for the flood / ditch walker for another 24 months – With the Scrutiny committee to assess whether it is meeting its objectives by September 2024.
  • £70,000 into a reserve for additional planning resource for 24 months.
  • £50,000 to support design creation and community participation for Public Realm improvements for Wymondham.

An additional £100,000 from an earmarked capital receipt has also been allocated to expand the Community Action Fund across the district to £150,000 with an upper grant limit increased to £20,000 per application.

Leader of the South Norfolk Labour group, Michael Rosen, who seconded the Budget motion, said:

“As a small opposition group it is very exciting to have been able to get support across all parties for changes that will make a real difference to the many people in South Norfolk facing financial challenges, flooding, or the impact of local housing development. With our ideas gaining backing from all Councillors we were able to support the overall budget proposed by Cabinet. Most important for us was that the rise in Council Tax allows us to continue the services people value, invest in new projects to improve our area, and the impact on those who are struggling with higher bills and interest rates is offset by the support resulting from our proposals.”

All South Norfolk members were involved in setting the budget, that will see Council Tax rise by £5 a year to £170. That is a rise of less that 10 pence a week.

Published: 22 February 2024