‘Big challenges’ as council faces more savings

Cllr David ElkinCOUNCILLORS in East Sussex will consider all options with partners as they develop plans to save a further £24 million from the county’s budget.

A report to East Sussex County Council’s cabinet shows the authority needs to save an extra £6.5 million in 2017-18 – in addition to the £17.3 million savings already planned for the year.

To help make the savings, largely the result of cuts in Government funding and increased needs of residents, the council says closer work with partners and new ways of providing services are vital, but warns a continued impact on frontline services is unavoidable.

Options for savings could include reviewing community care, drop-in activity at children’s centres, services for carers and children with special educational needs and grass-cutting.

Cllr David Elkin, lead member for resources, said: “We won’t know exactly how much money we’ll have to spend next year until after the Chancellor’s autumn statement in November.

“However, the continuing tough economic climate means we will face more big challenges and will have to look at all the services we provide to see how we can make the savings we need.

“The proposals in the report are a starting point and we will continue to work closely with partners and communities, and to consider alternative ways of saving money.

“We’ve already shown we can be trusted to make every penny count and make the best possible use of the resources we have, and we will still be spending at least £350 million a year providing the services people need.”

The savings will be managed within the council’s three-year financial strategy to reduce spending by £70 million to £90 million by 2019.

The council says it will focus resources taking into account its priorities of protecting the vulnerable, boosting the economy, helping people help themselves and making the best use of resources.

It is warning up to 200 jobs could be lost as it reduces spending over three years, but aims to avoid compulsory redundancies.

The latest savings forecasts were discussed by cabinet on Tuesday, October 11 2016, with a final decision on the budget to be taken by the full council in February 2017.

More information is available on the cabinet papers at https://democracy.eastsussex.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=133&MId=2606&Ver=4