A report due to go before cabinet next week suggests options to be considered could include raising council tax and using some of the authority’s very limited reserves, with the council facing an expected shortfall of £27.5 million in the 2024/25 budget.
Councillors will also be warned that the picture in following years looks extremely difficult without more support from the government.
The cabinet report highlights that: “Our robust process, applied over many challenging years, has placed the council in a stronger position than many other authorities grappling with similar issues in the short term… This has enabled us to provide welcome stability in our services and the support we offer to local people.”
With considerable national uncertainty about how local government will be funded, East Sussex County Council is facing a predicted shortfall of £37 million between 2025 and 2027.
Like local authorities across the country, the county council is facing growing pressures from high demand for support for children and families, and for adults and older people needing care, as well as increased costs of providing services.
The cabinet report adds: “Given the national issues at play, we are experiencing similar significant financial pressures to others and now face a renewed challenge to maintain the decent and effective services our residents need and deserve in the medium term.”
The report stresses the need to continue the lobbying of central government as “without further government support or sustainable reform of local government finances we will not have the funding we need in the medium term.”
It also highlights the importance of the council’s work to harness the benefits of new technology and new ways of working to ease the pressures the authority faces.
With difficult decisions in the years ahead, the council wants to better understand the views of those living and working in the county and is launching a survey today (October 30) on the priorities and budget for East Sussex.
Feedback from the survey, alongside discussions with key partners and groups representing local communities will inform firm cabinet recommendations and full council decisions on the county council’s budget and Council Plan in early 2024.
More information about East Sussex County Council’s finances can be found at:
To take part in the budget survey, visit: