A further £44m of cuts and savings will need to be made by council bosses next year, with warnings "difficult choices" will have to be made.

Andrew Jamieson, deputy leader of Norfolk County Council, said the authority wanted to avoid cuts to frontline services, but admitted it was getting increasingly difficult to plug County Hall's budget gap.

The Conservative-controlled council agreed £42m of cuts and savings for the current year in February, including part-closures of recycling centres and switching off thousands of street lights.

Dereham Times: Norfolk County Council's County Hall headquartersNorfolk County Council's County Hall headquarters (Image: Mike Page)

But the authority has now started budget planning for the following year, and its cabinet will meet on Wednesday to start considering how to make another £44m of savings.

Between now and 2029 the council needs to plug a £188.7m funding gap - at a time when some local authorities have effectively declared bankruptcy.

Dereham Times: Norfolk County Council deputy leader Andrew JamiesonNorfolk County Council deputy leader Andrew Jamieson (Image: Norfolk County Council)

Mr Jamieson said: "We have got a £44m budget gap for next year, but we are starting early, getting departments to start looking at what savings can be made.

"It is going to be a very difficult year, with difficult decisions and it is a big challenge."

Mr Jamieson said the council wanted to protect frontline services where possible, with the ongoing transformation of how the council operates bringing savings.

READ MORE: Norfolk County Council defends £6.3m paid to Newton Europe

He called on the government - or the next one - to commit more money to local councils, saying reliance on council tax rises to generate money was "not sustainable".

Dereham Times: Liberal Democrat group leader Brian WatkinsLiberal Democrat group leader Brian Watkins (Image: Norfolk Liberal Democrats)

Brian Watkins, leader of the opposition Liberal Democrat group, said: "This Conservative government has had over a decade to instigate fairer funding for local authorities and the Liberal Democrat group has been vocal in their support for a multi-year settlement to make long-term budget planning easier.

"Although transformation is necessary, it alone will not be enough to save local authorities from going bankrupt in the future."

Dereham Times: Labour group leader Steve MorphewLabour group leader Steve Morphew (Image: Denise Bradley)

Labour group leader Steve Morphew said: "The need to save another £44m would be bad enough on its own, but on top of what we have been through already it is scary.

"But looking even further ahead, over the four-year-period, this is really worrying and just is not sustainable.

"There needs to be a thorough overhaul of the way this council works to make sure we're getting best value, because that just is not the case at the moment."