£18m cuts for East Sussex get the green light

County Hall Lewes ENGSUS00120130213161538
County Hall Lewes ENGSUS00120130213161538

Councillors at East Sussex County Council voted to accept £18m worth of cuts for 2015/16 as part of a three years saving plan of £67m.

But it wasn’t without opposition, with many councillors speaking out about the cuts.

Labour Cllr Jeremy Birch said, “It is cut, upon cut, upon cut, isn’t it, and it is the cumulative effect of all that on the quality of life of the residents of East Sussex.

“And don’t forget the people who are most hurt, inevitably, by cuts to public spending are the people who depend on public spending the most. It’s the special needs child, it’s the vulnerable elderly, it’s young people in difficultly, it’s families that are at the breaking point. I am angry that we are doing this to vulnerable people, who depend on us who look to us, for services and support, and here we are ripping them away form underneath their feet because that’s what we are being compelled to do one way or another by the coalition government. I am angry about what is being done.”

Speaking after the meeting, Cllr David Elkin, cabinet member for resources, said the financially challenging climate meant the council had to have an ever sharper focus on its priorities.

He said, “We should be under no illusions that the continuing austerity we are facing means we have to cut our cloth accordingly. We’ve done everything we can in recent years to minimise the effect on services as much as possible, but we can’t avoid the fact that in tough times, difficult decisions have to be made.

“The budget which council has approved is evidence of the sensible and prudent approach we’ve taken, and will continue to take, with our increasingly limited resources.”

The budget comes in the wake of a cut of more than a third in the core grant the council receives from central government since 2011-12.