Penny-pinching county council bosses want locals to tell them where to slash spending as they face up to having to make £60million in cuts over the next three years.
Management based at East Sussex County Council’s headquarters in Lewes already look likely to shed around 100 jobs as they attempt to rein in spending amid increasingly sparse funding from central government.
Various cuts were discussed at a cabinet meeting last week, with after school clubs, play schemes for disabled children and adult social care funding all earmarked for reductions. And in a move which shocked local support workers, councillors also mooted the idea of reducing the number of refuges for victims of domestic violence in East Sussex from five to four.
No final decision will be made on any cut backs until February 2013 and the authority now wants to hear from local people what services they believe should be untouchable and which could cope with a loss of funding.
Councillor Keith Glazier, deputy leader of the council, said, “We understand that these are very difficult decisions but we have a finite amount of money and have to make these cuts to live within our means.
“If we don’t cut from one area we’ll have to reduce budgets elsewhere - so we’re keen to hear what people think of our proposals as we fine tune our plans over the coming months.”
Residents can use a variety of ways to share their thoughts with county hall. Feedback can be left online at www.eastsussex.gov.uk/yourcouncil/consultation/2012/rppr, sent by post to £60m savings, East Sussex County Council, FREEPOST NAT 20637, County Hall, Lewes, BN7 1BR or emailed to email@example.com.
The deadline for comments is Monday, December 31 this year.
One good piece of news for locals is that the council says is it not planning to increase its share of council tax payments for 2013/14 – which will be the third year in a row it has frozen its part of the council tax payments pie.
The local authority is also looking to invest in projects which will save it money in the longer term. One such example is its intent to target children’s social care and work with vulnerable families in a bid to reduce the need to take children into care in the future.
A council spokesperson said, “The council is working hard to make sure that we get the best value from every pound we spend.”