£140m savings may be needed by county council

C110625-1 JPOS Chi Apr 21 No Cuts  Photo Louise Adams''The anti cuts campaigners demonstrate  along West Street, Chichester
C110625-1 JPOS Chi Apr 21 No Cuts Photo Louise Adams''The anti cuts campaigners demonstrate along West Street, Chichester

Savings of £140m may be needed by West Sussex County Council over the next four years - according to one councillor.

Speaking at a Southwater Parish Council meeting last Wednesday county councillor Brad Watson (Con, Southwater and Nuthurst) told members that a reduction in central Government grant funding could lead to cuts on top of the £79m already identified in recent years.

A spokesperson for the authority said it was too early to have any precise details, but there would be major challenges ahead.

Mr Watson said: “Now we have settled into our new council term one of the big concerns is about the government austerity measures and their reduction in public expenditure. Over the next four years the effect is about £140m.

“So that’s over the next four years. In the last four years, in fact ending during this financial year, we saved £79m.”

A spokesperson for West Sussex County Council said: “As with all other local authorities, the county council will be facing a major reduction in central government support over the next four years as a result of the Chancellor’s spending statement for 2015 onwards.

“At present, the council’s cabinet is still working through the details as part of the budget process.

“It is too early to be precise. However, the £79 million worth of savings was successfully delivered with the largest proportion, some 80 per cent coming from efficiency savings.

“The council will be looking at new and innovative ways of delivering front-line services and making further efficiencies.

“This will involve major challenges, but the council still believes that it can deliver its key objectives over the next four years.

“We expect to have further details later this autumn.”

Previous cuts including a change in eligability for social care prompting The Don’t Cut Us Out Campaign to be set up in February 2011.

West Sussex County Council’s workforce has been reduced from around 6,500 to 4,800.

How do you think possible cuts wil affect public services in West Sussex? Comment below or email ct.leters@jpress.co.uk