Cuts to adult social care and children’s services at East Sussex County Counil will create a ‘ticking time bomb’ - according to Labour figures.
The Tory-led authority is looking to save between £70m and £90m over the next three years and last month launched an informal consultation on the future of services, something that the Labour Group labelled a ‘smokescreen’ and a ‘total sham’.
A total of £40m could be cut from adult social care from 2016/17 to 2018/19 and £13.2m from children’s services according to a report due to be presented to ESCC’s Cabinet next Tuesday.
Around 50 county council jobs could be lost in the next financial year, with an estimated 250 set to go over the three year period.
In response the Labour Group has relaunched its Anti Austerity Campaign.
Trevor Webb, leader of the Labour Group at ESCC, said: “Make no mistake, these proposals to make savage cuts to adult social care and children’s services will create a ticking time bomb. It’s obvious that if you withdraw essential support when demand is increasing, you will inevitably cause major problems for generations to come.
“It’s incredibly short-sighted and illogical. For all the Tories bluster about having ‘long term plans’ - this proves they cut first and think about the consequences to vulnerable residents later.
“We demand that the Conservative leadership at County Hall challenge their Government’s cuts. They need to tell ministers that the cuts are unsustainable and damaging. All councillors should be defending their communities. Labour does. Will the Tories?”
Last month David Elkin, deputy leader and lead member for resources, said: “Our ambition is to deliver the same with less money and where possible improve what we deliver and we have achieved that in a number of areas.”
This could be the done either through technology or through working in partnership with other organisations.
He added: “However, the continued funding squeeze, at a time when our ageing population places more demand than ever on our services, means more tough choices have to be made. The reality is we will have to look closely at everything we do and change the way some services are delivered, while some will have to be reduced or even stopped altogether.”
The report due to go to Cabinet said that the total savings and the distribution between the departments ‘may be subject to change over the coming months’.
It suggests that while there were some areas it would retain direct control over, ESCC would be working with partners to commission integrated services for health, social care and public health through East Sussex Better Together, community services, and economic development and skills projects and strategies.
The report added: “This will mean a much smaller county council than currently, to reflect both reducing resources and best use of resources by moving to delivery through new structures evolved with partners and communities to best meet future need.”
To have your say visit www.eastsussex.gov.uk/savings
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