The local picture
To date we have been able to achieve our savings targets largely by changing the way we do things, making us more efficient and freeing up money to protect front line services.
However, the demand for social care services is increasing in West Sussex, the number of elderly residents is increasing faster than in most other areas of the country and we have more children who we need to look after and keep safe. For example, the number of West Sussex children with special educational needs rose from 3,898 in 2016 to 5,297 in 2019.
We cannot assume any further funding from Government in future years beyond that already announced and given the scale of spending pressures facing us, we can no longer balance our budget through efficiency savings alone.
This leaves us, along with more than 99% of social care authorities, with the unavoidable option of having to rely on raising more revenue from council tax as a key funding stream, which we know passes financial pressure on to you, our residents.
While we have received more funding for next year, we have to deal with significantly more demand on our vital services. Regrettably, to balance our budget, we have to make some cuts to services that we know you, our residents, value.