West Sussex County Council confirms plans towards a balanced budget for 2018/19 as it reveals a refreshed five-year investment programme.
A total of £800m will be invested in key priorities, including:
- schools and younger residents - delivering more than 2,500 new places for our children in September 2019;
- roads and highways - funding seven major road schemes focused on improving safety and unlocking growth potential across the county;
- sustainable energy - developing more solar farms, with the latest energy storage technologies, including for our schools; and
- the local economy, supporting growth deals across the county, aiming to create 10,000 new jobs and delivering nearly 600,000 square metres of commercial floor space between now and 2022/23.
The news came at a meeting of West Sussex County Council’s Cabinet today (Tuesday 28 November) at County Hall, Chichester which discussed proposals for savings and capital investments for the county.
The investments form the council’s Capital Investment Programme, which has been refreshed and revised since it was presented to Full Council earlier this year.
At the same time the county council has outlined options to bridge a £22.3m budget gap for 2018/19, caused by an increased demand on services and reduced funding from central government.
Decisions around the proposals for savings and capital investment programme will be made at a meeting of the Full Council on Friday 15 December at County Hall, Chichester.
Savings and efficiencies of £18.7m are being proposed to balance the books for the next financial year. However, further budget options of £3.6m are still required before the final budget is agreed in February next year.
A final decision will also be made in February on the level of council tax. It is proposed that council tax will increase by 1.95 per cent in 2018/19 with a further 2 per cent increase to meet the cost of adult social care. This is the equivalent of an extra 95 pence per week for the average household in West Sussex.
Louise Goldsmith, Leader of West Sussex County Council, said: “It is vital to us that we protect frontline services despite the financial challenges we face.
“We are focused on the needs of our residents and have made careful decisions about where to make savings and where to invest for the future of the county.
“There is still some work to do, but I’m confident that our budget planning is on course to deliver a balanced budget and an exciting package of investments which will benefit residents for many years to come.”
The proposals are subject to the government’s financial settlement, which is expected by the end of the year, and will confirm the expected funding allocation for the county council for 2018/19.
Members of the county council will meet on Friday 15 December to formally agree the Capital Investment Programme and efficiency savings.
Members will meet again on 16 February 2018 to formally agree the final budget and level of council tax.