County council leader Cliff Jordan. Picture: Supplied.
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On the eve of a local council tax increase, Norfolk County Council has voted to put up its share of the bill by 4.8 per cent.

Members supported the hike – the biggest in a decade –  at a meeting on Monday and band D households will pay an extra £57.15 a year as a result.

Norfolk Police and Crime Panel endorsed a 1.99 per cent increase for the Norfolk Police and Crime Commissioner at the beginning of the month.

And, in the final piece of the puzzle, West Norfolk Council was expected to agree a £4, or 3.54 per cent, increase on an average band D property at a meeting last night.

The county council takes the majority of the annual bill, West Norfolk Council takes seven per cent and the remainder goes to the Police and Crime Commissioner and parish councils.

Rising social care costs have been blamed for council tax increases across the country as authorities struggle to plug budget gaps.

The Government is allowing councils in England to add an extra three per cent to bills this year and next to help pay for social care, including care home costs.

Norfolk’s 4.8 per cent increase includes this three per cent levy. The county council is planning a further three per cent rise for social care next April – taking it to the maximum six per cent allowed over the two years.

Critics have dismissed the levy as a short-term fix, warning it will do little to address the crisis in adult social care, which has a knock-on effect on the NHS.

The council announced a £25m investment in adult social care and children’s services, but the budget also includes £48m of spending cuts, largely from “back office efficiencies” it says.

From 2010-11 to 2016-17, the council’s share of cuts has seen the authority lose almost £161m in government funding, while cost pressures on many of its services have continued to rise, a spokesman said.

Borough council leader Brian Long.
Picture: Supplied.

Even with the rise in council tax, the authority expects to have to make savings of £72m over the next three years.

County council leader Cliff Jordan said: “This is a robust budget, rooted in strong financial management. We have looked hard at every area of the services that the council delivers to the people of Norfolk.

“We have a responsibility to help vulnerable people in this county. I believe this budget will allow us to look after those who cannot look after themselves.”

Last year West Norfolk Council increased its share of the council tax bill by 0.8 per cent, after being frozen for five years, and the average band D bill rose by 90p.

Councillors were set to agree a 3.54 per cent increase at a full council meeting last night after the budget was agreed by  cabinet members last month.

Parking charges are to be frozen following an increase last April, but the cost of other services, ranging from cremation fees to brown bin composting costs, are set to rise from April 1.