The leader of East Sussex County Council is hopeful of not having to make budget cuts next year.
Despite the unprecedented financial pressure of the pandemic, careful financial planning and new ways of working mean that no additional cuts (beyond those already set out at last year’s budget meeting) are currently planned.
This is the first time in more than a decade that the council plans to avoid cost savings in their budget, in February 2021.
Provided Government funding for 2021/22 reflects the financial pressures experienced in East Sussex, and the budget is approved, the county council does not expect to drop below its core offer this year – a minimum level of service it says residents should be able to expect.
Council leader Cllr Keith Glazier said, “With every corner of our county experiencing the devastating effects of Covid-19, we have seen more residents relying on the services we provide – whether that’s care for the elderly and vulnerable, support for businesses trying to recover or help for schools trying to get our children’s learning back on track.
While there will always be more that we would like to do, being able to propose no further reductions to services at this time, when more people are in greater need of support, is a huge achievement.”
Currently, East Sussex County Council proposes to spend over £380 million on services. Since 2010 savings have had to be made of £138 million and last year a core offer was launched which set out what residents could expect from the council in the future if more sustainable funding was not agreed by central Government.
Previously-planned savings of £2.8 million will be delivered during 2021/22, including the remodelling of the Early Help Service.