Fears budget cut will affect services

SUFFOLK chiefs today denied that a £50,000 budget cut would hit the way the county deals with emergencies in the future.Suffolk County Council is to make the cut in its emergency planning department next year - but public protection spokeswoman Joanna Spicer said it was only the bureaucracy which would be affected.

SUFFOLK chiefs today denied that a £50,000 budget cut would hit the way the county deals with emergencies in the future.

Suffolk County Council is to make the cut in its emergency planning department next year - but public protection spokeswoman Joanna Spicer said it was only the bureaucracy which would be affected.

An emergency planning directorate has been formed with the county council and six of the seven districts in Suffolk. The remaining district, Ipswich, chose not to join.

Each district involved contributes money to the directorate, but the county has contributed more than was agreed since the directorate was set up two years ago.

Mrs Spicer said: “We put in more than the minimum we were supposed to be paying to get the directorate up and running.

“We didn't actually spend all the money we had allocated, and now the directorate is up and running there is no problem in taking the £50,000 out of the budget,” she said.

Most Read

However the Labour opposition was angry about the news. Roger Bellham, Labour lead for public protection, said: "The Labour group is very concerned by these cuts.

“In the last year, the county has had to deal with avian flu, blue tongue and the flooding alert - now is not the time to chip away at funding for emergency planning"

Mrs Spicer also said that with bird flu still in the area, people with flocks of birds should continue to be vigilant for signs of the disease.

And they should ensure their birds are isolated from wild birds to avoid the risk of cross-contamination.

She said: “Bird flu is not making the headlines any more, but it is still a serious concern and we have trading standards officers out in the county giving people advice on how to look after their birds and making sure they are shut up.”

Mrs Spicer's own flock of pet chickens have been locked up in a shed at her west Suffolk home since the alert was raised following the discovery of bird flu on a farm on the Suffolk/Norfolk border two weeks ago.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter