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Standing up for East Sussex, from left: Cllr David Tutt, leader of Eastbourne Borough Council, Cllr David Elkin, East Sussex County Council cabinet member for resources, Cllr Andy Smith, leader of Lewes District Council, Cllr Peter Chowney, leader of Hastings Borough Council, Cllr Bob Standley, leader of Wealden District Council and Cllr Carl Maynard, leader of Rother District Council.

Standing up for East Sussex, from left: Cllr David Tutt, leader of Eastbourne Borough Council, Cllr David Elkin, East Sussex County Council cabinet member for resources, Cllr Andy Smith, leader of Lewes District Council, Cllr Peter Chowney, leader of Hastings Borough Council, Cllr Bob Standley, leader of Wealden District Council and Cllr Carl Maynard, leader of Rother District Council.

East Sussex issues joint call for fairer funding

With the autumn budget looming, local government leaders across East Sussex have joined forces to call for an end to the constant cuts in funding which have hit public services hard. Nick Terdre reports.

Leaders of all district and borough councils in East Sussex have thrown their weight behind a campaign calling for fairer funding for the county, according to East Sussex County Council.

The Stand Up For East Sussex campaign is urging people to sign a petition calling on Prime Minister Theresa May to urgently rethink the funding the county receives. The campaign adds to the mounting pressure on Chancellor Philip Hammond to reverse the austerity policies, applied since the coalition government took office in 2010, in the autumn budget he is due to deliver on Wednesday 22 November.

The cross-party support from leaders of all five East Sussex districts and boroughs – Eastbourne Borough Council, Hastings Borough Council, Lewes District Council, Rother District Council and Wealden District Council, as well as ESCC – comes as a fresh boost to the petition, which more than 5,300 people have signed since it was launched a month ago.

The campaign highlights the mounting pressure on essential services for some of the county’s most vulnerable people as public spending declines. It points out that East Sussex also has to contend with below-average wages, lack of large firms to boost business rates and often inadequate transport links.

Yet government funding for the county is dwindling. ESCC has had to make savings of £112 million since 2010 with a further £58 million expected over the coming four years on current estimates.

Meanwhile HBC’s government funding has been cut by almost two thirds to £4.6 million in 2017/18 and is set to fall to £3.7 million in the next two years if the austerity policy is maintained.

“I fully support the county council’s campaign to restore funding for local authority services to the county and district councils in East Sussex,” HBC leader Cllr Peter Chowney said. “Local services throughout the county have suffered because of grant cuts. We need grant funding restored to a realistic, sustainable level if we’re to deliver the local services that people need.”

“Providing the quality local services that people rely on is harder than ever because funding simply doesn’t reflect the real needs of our population,” Cllr Carl Maynard, Conservative leader of RDC, said. “By speaking up together we can urge a serious re-think of the support that’s given to people in East Sussex.”

The campaign also highlights some of the East Sussex’s successes, including its growing economy, and asks the Government for more powers to build on these strengths.

The Stand Up For East Sussex petition can be signed here.

A series of short campaign videos can be viewed here.

This article was amended by the writer on 11 November 2017.

Posted 17:06 Friday, Nov 10, 2017 In: Politics


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