East Sussex council has said it is preparing to cut back services to the bare legal minimum following problems with funding. The council has estimated it could be bankrupt in 3 years.
Many of its services will be severely cut or shut down completely.
Under new arrangements, many elderly citizens would not qualify for social care and this would leave family and voluntary groups left to care for such citizens.
The council has admitted without increased central government funding even this model might be unaffordable by 2021. The government insist their funding strikes a balance between fiscal responsibility and public services but large numbers of councils are struggling.
Cuts come despite the wealth of the region with individuals in the South East being paid 11% than the national average.
East Sussex does not want to follow fellow Tory-run Northamptonshire council into effective bankruptcy. Northamptonshire county council adopted an emergency cuts plan to reduce services in attempts to close a £70m black hole in its budget during the next few months. These councils are not alone in struggling for funds. Kent, Surrey and Torbay are all Tory-run councils facing significant financial problems. Surrey Council is facing a £100 million cash crisis.
Analysis from Iwan Doherty- Editor in Chief
TPN has studied lots of councils in the last year, we’ve written pieces on Preston, Nottingham, Northamptonshire, East Cheshire, Torbay, Warwick and we have established a simple rule that has yet to be broken. If it’s run badly, they’re wearing blue.
Despite running councils that have wealthier residents Tory councils all over the country are going bankrupt. It’s not completely the councils’ fault but in many cases, ridiculous commitments to low taxes and vanity projects have caused residents to suffer. And whilst many can forgive their councils selling land, leisure centres and libraries, cutting off social care to our most vulnerable citizens is simply not acceptable.
The central government is playing a role in the funding crisis, the political project that is austerity has slashed council budgets by 38% since 2010 but Tory councils like Northamptonshire, Somerset and Surrey despite their affluent taxpayers and favourable central government funding are suffering worse than Labour councils. Many Labour councils like Preston and Nottingham have produced spectacular public services when the central government is giving them peanuts.
The problem is Tory economics, not just in Westminster where austerity means slashing spending, which only leads to negative wage growth, but in councils where councillors commit to not raising taxes. Tory councils must become more fiscally responsible and start asking us all to pay a little bit more tax so we don’t reach bankruptcy.