Archive for April, 2014

Why the Administration at Norfolk County Council is incapable of delivering the long term public service reform Norfolk needs

Letter I wrote to the EDP in response to George Freeman MP’s article “A New Deal for Norfolk”

I’m writing to comment on the issues raised in George Freeman MP’s article (EDP, 16 April) “A New Deal For Norfolk”.

For me, the issues that his article raises are of some concern when put into the context of the political fragility at Norfolk County Council and the financial challenges the council now faces. Allow me to explain.

Over the past three years the previous Conservative Administration at County Hall faced £140m reduction in Government Grant and now this Labour/ UKIP/ Liberal Democrat Administration faces a further £189m.

Mr Freeman states in his article that the national debt, which now stands at £1.2 trillion, won’t start to fall to at least 2020.

Meanwhile at Norfolk County Council, we have a multi-party administration working with these reductions in Local Government grants that are so concerned with the day-to-day politics of keeping the political parties on side that nobody has stopped to ask the question “what will Norfolk County Council look like beyond 2020?”

It is especially in these difficult times of austerity, the people who elected us are expecting real local political leadership and a vision.

George Nobbs’ administration is incapable of being brave; and radical; and giving people the real strong political leadership that Norfolk expects in these tough times of austerity as the parties are so ideologically different.

Instead of offering Norfolk a vision, the rainbow administration is based upon a series of political manoeuvres. Upon taking office, the Administration sighted three main objectives: Excellence in education, Real jobs, and Good infrastructure. These are all well and good and are so broad they are difficult to disagree with. But there is no plan to deal with the forthcoming cuts in Government funding that the Authority will have to deal with until at least 2020.

I agree with the conclusion that Mr Freeman comes to in his article that a long-term ambitious Plan for Public Service Reform for Norfolk is not only needed but is vital, but am fearful that the current political fragility at County Hall will soon become a major barrier in making that aspiration a reality.

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