Budget protecting vital services approved

DETAILS of how £500 million will support vital services for East Sussex residents have been agreed by councillors.

The county council’s 2023/24 budget, which will pay for services including roads, libraries and support for vulnerable adults and children, was approved at a meeting of the Full Council on Tuesday, February 7, along with the authority’s plan for delivering its priorities in the coming year.

A decade of careful financial planning means no new cuts to spending, but a significant increase in service demand and rising costs means residents will be asked to pay more including a 2.99 per cent increase on their council tax and a two per cent increase for adult social care.

Cllr Nick Bennett, deputy leader and lead member for resources and climate change, said: “The increase, which is the equivalent of an additional £1.55 a week for a Band D household, offers us some short-term stability which will allow us to prepare for the challenges we know lie ahead.

“We know that some residents are finding it difficult to make ends meet and asking people to pay more is never a decision we take lightly, but it is more important than ever that the services the public are increasingly relying upon are safeguarded.”

As well as day-to-day spending on services, Full Council also approved the proposed capital programme which includes investment in improvements to the highways infrastructure, school places, SEND (Special Educational Needs and Disability) provision, as well as further supporting the council’s commitment to reduce its carbon footprint from its operations.

Also agreed was the Council Plan for the coming financial year, which sets out the programme of how services will be delivered, including improved bus services, integrated care services, a new strategy for providing Special Educational Needs and Disability support for East Sussex children and the development of a new economic strategy for the county.

The full report can be found at https://democracy.eastsussex.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=150&MId=5065&Ver=4 where a webcast of the Full Council meeting can also be viewed.