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Norfolk faces £140m black hole

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Norfolk CC has warned it may be forced to cut serives and some of its 20,000 strong workforce as a result of the crisis in the nation’s public finances.

Finance officers estimate a grant freeze in 2011-12 and 2012-13 could cause a £140m black hole in the council’s accounts over the next three years.

The council has suggested posts would be lost, rather than jobs, with vacant posts not filled but council leader Daniel Cox (Con) acknowledged “difficult choices” would have to be made over the services the authority delivers.   

The council said inflation, demographic growth and new legal requirements had added up to £50m to the council’s spending each year and that if grants are not increased, pressures will have to be met through savings and efficiencies.   

Cllr Cox said: “The chief executive of the Audit Commission has already said that the nation’s finances face an Armageddon scenario and that managers of public services who are not planning on the basis they will have substantially less money to spend in two years time are living in cloud cuckoo land.

“In Norfolk, we are well used to dealing with challenges such as this, but the position over the next few years will certainly be very tough indeed.”

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