Budget considered by East Sussex County Council

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PLANS for a multi-million pound investment in the local economy has been unveiled by county council bosses.

East Sussex County Council cabinet members were last night (Thursday) considering how best to spend £254 million on development projects over the next four years.

Cllr Peter Jones, Leader of the Council, said: “We have a once in a lifetime opportunity to stimulate the local economy, benefiting residents and businesses, made possible by our careful planning in past years. We are one of the biggest organisations in East Sussex and we will be considering plans to spend £254 million on development projects over the next four years. This totals nearly £500 million when we include other contributions, for example government grants.”

Some of the council’s major new and ongoing projects include: £15 million for super fast broadband, £10 million investment to ensure continued high quality services in the face of rising numbers of children in care, £15 million for school improvements, £1 million to improve school sports halls that can be used by the community in Robertsbridge, Hastings and Uckfield. £7.5 million for library buildings including £1 million for Newhaven to improve and expand. £7 million for vulnerable adults and older people including £5 million in Seaford and supported living flats and a new library for the community, and £1 million in Hailsham for housing for older people and people with learning disabilities. £60 million on roads maintenance, upgrades and related work. In the budget for services, the council said it has to save at least £56 million over the next three years, on top of the £37 million saved this year. For next year (2012/13), £19 million of savings are needed to cope with both reduced funding from government and increasing costs.

Cllr Keith Glazier, Lead Cabinet Member responsible for finance, said: “We know how difficult household budgets are and so, for the second year running, we are considering a proposal to use the special Government grant to enable us to freeze council tax.”

The budget will be considered by a full meeting of the council on February 7.