“Not the time to reduce services”

A message from Keith Glazier

“Every home and every business in East Sussex has been hit by Covid-19 – often severely.

“That’s why many people are relying more than ever on public services like care for the elderly and vulnerable, support for businesses or help with education.

“Knowing this, I’m pleased to say that my intention is for East Sussex County Council to keep its core offer to residents unchanged in our next budget. If agreed in February, this would be the first time in more than a decade that we’ve avoided seeking new savings. We’re still hard-pressed financially, but we think this is not the time to further reduce the services we can offer.

“This ambition is only possible because of the enormous effort we’ve made with our partners in recent years to keep providing services that people rely on, while meeting our duty to be financially prudent. We’ve absorbed drastic cuts in our funding from central government and the demand for our services keeps rising.

“I won’t deny that the core offer we plan to protect next year is basic: there’s so much more I wish we could do.  But it’s an achievement to be able to propose no further reductions for now, at a time when many people particularly need support.

“We still face huge uncertainty – a shortfall of almost £22 million by 2024 unless the government responds better to the needs of people in East Sussex. Nor do we fully know the long-term effects and costs that Covid-19 is having on our county. Rest assured that I will keep government ministers aware of our difficult situation.

“In the meantime I hope stability in our level of services, the plans we have together for East Sussex to reset and recover and, above all, the talents and energy of the people who live and work here can encourage us all through these difficult times.

“Thank you for the support and patience you’ve shown, and please stay safe.”

Cllr Keith Glazier, leader of East Sussex County Council