Council may face tough choices

Council leaders face more tough decisions if estimations of a further £90 milion worth of savings prove correct.

In a report on the authority’s finances cabinet members at East Sussex County Council were told this week, if assumptions are right, they may need to make savings of between £70 million and £90 million in the three years from 2016.

In recent years, the authority has reviewed the way it delivers many services to ensure the best use of its resources and is in line to make £89 million of savings between 2010 and March 2016.

But at Tuesday’s cabinet meeting, members were warned that an expected continued reduction in central Government funding could leave them needing to find that amount again to balance the books between 2016 and 2019.

Cllr David Elkin, deputy leader and lead member for resources, said: “Due to next year’s General Election, there are many unknowns for local authorities. As we start planning future budgets, we need to prepare for the worst case scenario.” The authority has already drawn up a budget plan for the next financial year, 2015/16, but needs to identify possible savings for the three years from 2016.

Cllr Elkin added: “As with all the changes we have made so far, we will continue to work with residents and organisations to ensure that no one is left without access to a service that they rely upon, although it would be naïve to assume that there will be no change to services. There is every possibility that residents will see major changes to the way the county council provides service as a result.”