WEST SUSSEX County Council says it has approved a ‘balanced budget’ for 2019/20.
Councillors have approved net expenditure of £575.5 million to deliver key services.
The council also agreed significant investments to support five key priority areas.
- £6.1 million – additional new investment in children and young people’s services
- £7.3 million – investment in adults and health.
- Additional investment – special support centres to help keep students with special educational needs and disabilities in mainstream schools with their peers and in their local area.
- £3 million – additional investment in extra care schemes to help keep older people living independently for longer.
- £44.5 million – investment in a sustainable energy programme which includes the installation of solar farms and battery storage on unused council land.
- £5 million – programme to create community hubs and protect key services by bringing them together under one roof.
- £13.8 million – investment in corporate and fire fleet vehicles and £1.8 million in specialist fire equipment to support the fire and rescue service.
- £22.5 million – investment in digital infrastructure supporting businesses and rural communities.
Since 2010, the council has saved more than £200m and in the same period, government funding has been cut by £145m.
The county council faced a challenging financial gap of £45.4m for 2019/20 alone, due to increasing demand on social care services and a continued reduction in central government funding.
As a result, it identified £23.4million-worth of savings across a number of services.
The remaining amount has been found through a council tax increase of 4.99 per cent, which includes a dedicated 2 per cent to fund adult social care. This increase means an additional £1.27 per week for the average Band D household.
Council leader Louise Goldsmith said: “Despite the difficult financial challenges we face as a county council, this budget includes significant investment in a number of priority areas for the communities we are here to serve.
“We’re making a clear commitment to continue exploring new and innovative ways to generate income and do more with the money we have.”
Jeremy Hunt, cabinet member for finance and resources, said: “This budget is balanced, robust and sustainable which supports the five key priorities in our West Sussex Plan.
“It is a budget that supports our residents and ensures that we continue to provide our many excellent services.”
Members of the county council formally agreed the final budget and the level of council tax at heir meeting on Friday.
For more information visit: westsussex.gov.uk/campaigns/the-budget-challenge/