The great things about the city, its challenges, proposed increase in council tax and how people on low incomes are supported in paying it are the focus of a public consultation.
The consultation asks for feedback on two main elements:
- a long-term vision for Norwich (up to 2040)
- the council's budget for 2018-19
2040 Norwich Vision
Norwich is a vibrant, thriving and growing city. While there is much to celebrate, there are challenges too. To make sure Norwich continues to be a success, it needs a long-term plan and vision – and one that the whole city has contributed to.
The city council has started a project to develop this plan – a vision that sets out in a clear, understandable and deliverable way, what we want the city to be like in 2040 and how we get there.
This can only be achieved if it’s a vision shared by the whole city and includes the views of residents, businesses, organisations and the voluntary sector. The way to start this work is to find out what is important in the city, what its attributes are and the challenges it needs to overcome.
We have a number of ways to capture the views ranging from focus groups, telephone interviews, face-to-face surveys and the answers given in this consultation.
Year on year, the council faces reductions in government funding at the same time as increasing costs. Over the last 10 years, we’ve made £30m of savings. We’ve done this through a number of key ways including:
- renegotiating and re-letting contracts
- establishing new ways of working at lower cost, including entering into joint ventures
- bringing in grants
- increasing the number of services customers can access online
- investing in commercial opportunities.
Another way we try and maintain a balanced budget is by considering small Council Tax increases – this provides another way to continue our track record of making very few reductions to frontline services.
A 2.01 per cent rise in the city council’s portion of Council Tax is being proposed for 2018-19 – a move that would generate around £177,000 in income. This would mean an increase in the amount of Council Tax a household pays to the city council of £5 per year, which is less than 10p per week for a Band D household in Norwich (less for most people as the majority of households are in A or B band). The proposed rise – along with details of changes to the Council Tax Reduction scheme the council wants to make in-line with this increase to support those on low incomes – forms the second part of the consultation.
Councillor Paul Kendrick, cabinet member for resources, said: “Norwich is a success story and has been for almost 1,000 years. To keep it so, we must build on our successes, anticipate and keep ahead of change – an inevitable part of modern city life – and seize the opportunities available to us.
“How we balance our budgets under increasing financial strain and plan for Norwich’s future in the long term are important issues for everyone who works and lives in the city, as well as its visitors. Please give us your views.”}
The consultation will run until Wednesday 17 January 2018.