County Council sets out approach to financial challenges

West Sussex County Council has started to set out how it will meet its financial challenge over the next few years.


Release date: 22 October 2020

West Sussex County Council has started to set out how it will meet its financial challenge over the next few years.

The Council is estimating pressures of £47m on its budget for 2021/22, these include:

  • Children’s social care, including a rise in the number of children needing care from the local authority,
  • a rise in the demand on adult social care for people needing packages of support,
  • and a predicted decrease in the amount the council will receive in business rates and council tax as a direct impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Assuming the County Council receives the same government funding in 2021/22 as it did the previous year that still means it would have to find a further £44m of savings to balance the budget. 

For the following two years the County Council anticipates gaps of £44m and £17m; a total budget gap of £105m over the three-year period. 

As part of its financial and business planning the Council is working on developing a plan for how it ‘Resets and Reboots’ the way it does its business. This is about setting key priorities on which it needs to focus and putting in place the finances and systems needed to do that. That work is happening together with partners and staff to make sure there is a sustainable and long term plan for the future.

Paul Marshall, Leader of the Council, said: “During the response to COVID-19 local government has demonstrated its importance as a central pillar of keeping people safe and well. Even before the global pandemic local government finances were under extreme pressure and West Sussex is no exception. We are lobbying the Government hard, with our MPs, to make sure they understand the seriousness of the problem. However, in the absence of significant additional funding we will be forced to make serious reductions to services in order to ensure we can remain financially resilient and can maintain a balanced budget, in line with our statutory duties. That is not something a council leader ever wants to do but especially so in the midst of a global pandemic when our residents, communities and businesses have been through so much and need our continuing support.”

You can read the West Sussex Reset and Reboot plan on the website

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