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05.12.18

Providing ‘core offer’ of services ‘shouldn’t be about politics,’ East Sussex County Council leader says

The deliverance of services for a cash-strapped county council should focus on the most vulnerable, and “shouldn’t be about politics” in the authority, the East Sussex County Council leader has told PSE.

Cllr Keith Glazier spoke to PSE about the council’s short-term arrangements to protect those most in need of its services following the authority’s announcement of providing a ‘core offer’ of services in November.

Last month, the south-coast council announced its provision of the core offer of services, which included the possibility of staff redundancies, as the council looks to save more than £45m by 2021-22.

East Sussex, like councils up and down the country, has had to make massive reductions in its spending in recent years: almost £140m has been taken out of the running costs of the council since 2010.

Today, Cllr Glazier spoke of the need for the council to work together to get something “that’s right for East Sussex.”

“This shouldn’t be about politics,” Cllr Glazier said. “In this council I think we work very well together, we just held two full council forums on the core offer so that everybody had the opportunity to come along and understand and have their input.

“The core offer is a conversation that we’re having with the people of East Sussex and the government for what we think is the bare minimum that should be provided. If austerity ended and finances become stronger, or we find different ways of delivering, then obviously we would want to do more.”

Cllr Glazier spoke of the council’s initiatives to meet surging demand in key areas such as children’s services and adult social care—putting the sectors as one of the council’s ‘key drivers’ in protecting the most vulnerable.

He explained: “We have relooked at our libraries, and six of our libraries last year were closed and became community libraries. We’ve closed household waste sites simply because we can’t afford the luxury of running them. All of the things that our electorate appreciate and would rather have.”

Despite the scaling back of services for the authority, Cllr Glazier noted each councillor’s drive to work together to improve services for local residents.

“What will happen in the chamber: you will get the political grandstanding because it’ll be ‘it’s your government that’s cut the money,’ and you just have to accept that that’s political grandstanding.

“But actually, behind the scenes I think we all, and I genuinely mean this, I think all 50 of us come here with a view that we want to improve services for the people that elect us and we look after.”

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Image credit: East Sussex County Council

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