County council faces £37million funds gap

HEAVY cuts in Government grants have left the county council with a £37million funding gap for the coming year.

Children’s services and adult social care will be the hardest hit sectors across East Sussex as Government slashes its grants. East Sussex County Council could make up to £110 million in savings over the next four years and will discuss cost-cutting measures at a cabinet meeting on Tuesday (January 25).

Deputy leader Tony Reid said, “We’re having to find new ways to deliver services and to be totally brutally frank with the public, sorry, as much as it was nice to do what we did, we cannot do it in the future.

“Now that we have got a clear idea of what government funding is for next year, we have a lot of work to do but we need to model for the next three years as well.”

Government has cut £13.7 million of specific grants to children’s services outside schools and the council is looking to make a further £6.9 million in savings in the department – reducing spend on children’s services by £20.7 million.

Deputy chief executive Sean Nolan confirmed eight children’s centres are likely to close over the next year, saving £700,000.

He said, “It’s within our planning but undoubtedly it reflects a national view to prioritise, particularly on spending on children outside school because the Government are looking to protect cash going to schools.

But part of that has clearly been at the expense of grants to children-related services outside schools.”

The cabinet will discuss the budget proposals for the coming year on Tuesday, before being passed to the full council on February 8.