Norfolk County Council is set to cut spending by £26m and increase council tax by around four per cent in its “toughest budget yet”.

The council reported last month it was facing a £45m budget gap next year amid the added expense of the coronavirus crisis.

A new report, due to go before cabinet on Monday, details how the authority could bring that gap down to around £15m.

The proposals include increasing the adult social care precept to raise an extra £8.5m and changing the way it provides services.

In his report to cabinet, Andrew Jamieson, cabinet member for finance, said the  budget was being developed in “a climate of almost unprecedented risk and uncertainty”.

Speaking before the meeting, he said:  “This is the toughest budget the council has faced so far. The triple whammy of rising budget pressures, uncertainty over government funding and the costs of tackling COVID-19 have created a unique challenge.

“We’ve covered some £30m of our £45.4m gap and tried, wherever possible, to cut running costs and reduce the impact on frontline services. 

“The aim of these proposals is to protect services that support the most vulnerable while ensuring that the council becomes more financially resilient and sustainable for the future.

“But, without additional government support and certainty over our biggest and costliest service – adult social care – we face further tough decisions later this year. 

“We are continuing to speak with the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government lobbying with key groups like the Local Government Association and County Councils Network and working alongside our MPs for a fair and sustainable settlement for local government.”

The council proposes raising  council tax by 1.99 per cent, and if the government offers the opportunity to raise the adult social care precept by two per cent, there will be a total increase of 3.99 per cent.

The exact figure is subject to government announcements and full council decisions in February, a spokesman said.

A finance monitoring report, also due to be considered by cabinet members, warns a £8.9m shortfall between coronavirus-related costs and government funding received is forecast. 

This forms part of the current overspend of £5.3m forecast for year end, the cabinet will hear.

The £17.3m of savings planned for this year are also not expected to be met, the report warns, due to the pandemic.

The cabinet is due to meet online at 10am on Monday and the agenda, with a link to view the meeting live, is available at www. www.norfolk.gov.uk