East Sussex core offer not sustainable

East Sussex County Council has outlined the services it believes residents should reasonably expect to be offered in the current difficult financial climate.

The council’s ‘core offer’ sets out its ambitions for services which meet residents’ vital needs and which are value for money, stating reductions in some services but retaining key services such as highways maintenance, support for older people and vulnerable adults and safeguarding children at risk. It also includes preventative services for families with children and some continuing work with schools on standards, although these will be reduced.

The authority has already saved £129 million since 2010 but faces a further funding gap of up to £46 million by 2022. Upon announcing its core offer, the council has stressed that it will not be sustainable for long unless East Sussex receives government more funding.

The report to the council’s cabinet lists the £12.3 million of savings that could be made by adopting the core offer in the three years to 2022, but says further savings of up to £33.4 million could still be required in a ‘worst-case scenario’.

Keith Glazier, county council leader, said: “We’d all like to provide more than a core service because none of us came into politics to make cuts, but this proposal is presented as a realistic ambition in a time of austerity.

“As an efficient and well-managed council, we’ve shown how much we can deliver for East Sussex, even in a severe financial climate. Agreeing a basic but decent core offer will help us continue that and we’ll make sure every penny spent has the greatest possible impact. This will also define our discussion with residents, partners and the government about the role the county council can play in future and what others can do to help us meet the needs of people and businesses here in East Sussex.”

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