11.07.18

East Sussex CC to vote on future of services following government funding cuts

Cabinet members at East Sussex County Council will vote on the development of the authority’s core services following “significant reductions” in funding from central government.

In a statement released yesterday, council chief executive Becky Shaw said savings to baseline services had already created significant impacts on areas including youth services, social care, highways, and family services.

The council, who are due to meet to discuss the ‘State of the County’ report which details the authority’s finances on 17 July, has said they will be unable to locally source funds to make further savings of up to £46m by 2021/22.

Shaw noted that significant reductions in funding from central government and “soaring demand” for social care will mean the council will have to continue to place a focus on those in “most urgent need.”

By 2031 the percentage of East Sussex residents 65 or over is projected to be 33%, compared to a national average of 22%.

Areas such as children services, including those vulnerable and with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND), is also a rising issue for the council in addition to the “costly challenge” of providing sufficient school places in in the right areas.

Shaw said: “Careful planning, efficiency savings, innovation, hard work and commitment to our four key priorities have enabled us to make the best use of our dwindling resources, but the pressure created by local residents’ needs cannot be met by income raised locally.

“Having transformed our services and saved £129 million since 2010, we need to be realistic about what further budget cuts will mean for the residents, communities and businesses of East Sussex.

“Our core offer paints an honest picture of the minimum that we realistically need to provide in the future and we want to use this as the basis for discussion with the Government, partner organisations and residents in East Sussex.”

Council leader Keith Glazier has written to James Brokenshire about the “counterproductive choices” the council has had to make.

The council will continue to lobby central government in a bid to highlight East Sussex’s specific challenges and push for a fairer deal for its residents.

Cabinet will be asked to consider the State of the County report and agree to the development of the council’s core offer when it meets on Tuesday, July 17.

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Image credit: East Sussex County Council

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