East Sussex MPs question minister on council funding

Nus Ghani, Wealden MP, and Maria Caulfield, Lewes MP, in Parliament raising the issue of funding for local councils (submitted). SUS-151222-094725001
Nus Ghani, Wealden MP, and Maria Caulfield, Lewes MP, in Parliament raising the issue of funding for local councils (submitted). SUS-151222-094725001

Two East Sussex MPs have raised the issue of council funding in the county given its large elderly population.

Both Nus Ghani, Wealden MP, and Lewes MP Maria Caulfield sought assurances about local government grants from Greg Clark, Secretary for Communities and Local Government, as he announced the funding settlement for authorities such as East Sussex Council on Thursday December 17.

They had both met senior officials from the county council the day before to discuss its emerging budget and priorities.

Ms Ghani asked for confirmation that Mr Clark had taken into account the financial demands of providing adult social care on ESCC given the county has the highest number of over 85s in the country. Mr Clark replied that resources available to the county council will increase by one per cent by 2020.

She said: “The funding of social services, particularly given East Sussex’s ageing population, is extremely important.

“I was pleased to hear that East Sussex County Council will see its revenues rise over the four-year period today’s announcement covers and that this will give greater flexibility in how local issues are addressed.”

Meanwhile Ms Caulfield backed the Three Southern Counties devolution bid, which has seen county councils in East Sussex, West Sussex and Surrey, look to take on more powers from central Government.

She asked what financial improvements the devolution proposals might bring to the three authorities.

In response Mr Clark said the ability for councils to retain business rates collected in their areas would give them an opportunity to boost economic activity.

Ms Caulfield added: “I wanted to place on record my strong support for the Three Counties initiative as I believe this is an important way forward for the local area. The encouragement for business will mean more jobs and local opportunities as well as more revenue for local authorities.”

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