County’s £417 million spending plans approved

VITAL services in East Sussex will be supported with a £417 million budget after councillors approved spending plans for the new financial year.

The 2021/22 budget, which includes no new cuts beyond some of those already identified last year, was agreed by East Sussex County Council at a meeting of the Full Council today (Tuesday).

A council tax increase and social care levy totalling the equivalent of £1 a week for a Band D household, was also agreed in a bid to safeguard services against increasing costs and growing demand.

The county council’s council tax will increase by 1.99 per cent, together with the Government-allowed adult social care levy of 3 per cent which will be split evenly over two years, meaning residents will pay 3.49 per cent more in 2021/22 for county council services.

“Asking residents to pay more is never a decision we take lightly,” said Cllr Keith Glazier, county council leader. “But we have to balance it against the growing needs of the most vulnerable in our community and the impact of the Covid crisis on the county.

“We have been able to split the adult social care levy over two years to keep the increase as low as possible and give residents stability in these unprecedented and difficult times.”

Cllr Glazier  added: “Through prudent financial planning and partnership working, we have been able to agree a budget today which adds no new cuts to services and keeps us above our core offer – the minimum level of service we think residents should be able to expect.

“But we realise that relying on residents to pay through council tax and social care levies for vital services for vulnerable adults and children is not a sustainable option.  We continue to lobby Government to put in place a fairer funding system which gives us more certainty and helps us plan for future years.”

The full papers from today’s council meeting are available on the website.