Plans for significant investment across West Sussex and proposals to balance next year’s budget have been signed off by the Cabinet of West Sussex County Council.
The proposals are in line with the priorities of ‘keeping you safe’, ‘providing education and schools’ and ‘roads, buses and countryside’, which were highlighted by residents last year in the County Council’s What Matters to You survey.
At a meeting today (Tuesday 24 January) at County Hall, Chichester, the Cabinet agreed to the proposals for a series of investments including £20m to work with adult social care providers to help develop the care market and £11m over five years to continue to improve the quality of footways and pavements.
The Cabinet also endorsed efficiencies and savings which have been put forward to bridge a £46.1m budget gap for 2017/18, due to demand on services and reduced funding from central government. Measures include the use of £9.4m of reserves and £16.8m in savings across a number of services.
The Cabinet considered comments put forward by the Performance and Finance Select Committee, following its meeting last week where the committee scrutinised the budget proposals and investment projects.
As part of the budget proposals the Cabinet today agreed a council tax increase of 1.95% plus an additional 2% to fund Adult Social Care, providing a total of 3.95%, the equivalent of an extra 92 pence per week for the average Band D household.
All of the budget proposals will now go forward for final approval at the Full County Council meeting on Friday 17 February.
County Council Leader, Louise Goldsmith, said: “We have carefully balanced the need to provide vital services and important investment in our county with the financial pressures which we know our residents are facing.
“Increases in council tax are now built into the government’s expectation of how services will be funded so we felt this step was unavoidable if we want to protect the frontline services that most matter to our residents.
“We have also considered the views of the public through our ‘What Matters to You’ survey which told us that two thirds of residents who responded would be happy for their council tax to increase by 3.75 per cent or more.”
Members of the County Council will meet on February 17 to formally agree the final budget and the level of council tax. Members of the public are welcome to attend this meeting which will be held at County Hall in Chichester at 10.30am. The meeting will also be webcast.