“Fresh evidence of the funding crisis facing local government has emerged after a second Tory-run council said it was preparing to cut back services to the bare legal minimum to cope with a cash shortfall that could leave it bankrupt within three years.
East Sussex county council said growing financial pressures and rising demand for social care were forcing it to restrict services to the most vulnerable residents only. Under this “core offer”, many of its services will be severely cut or shut down completely.
It said families and neighbourhood voluntary groups would have to take increasing responsibility for supporting those older people who would no longer qualify for social care support from the council under the new arrangements.
Northamptonshire council plans cuts to all services and workforce
East Sussex’s outline of its strategic approach, revealed in a council paper last month, appears to have been adopted wholesale by Tory-run Northamptonshire county council, which this week adopted an emergency cuts plan to reduce services to skeleton levels as it attempts to close a £70m black hole in its budget during the next few months.
Northamptonshire’s financial collapse has been portrayed by ministers as being down to chronic mismanagement rather than lack of government funding. However, East Sussex is regarded as a stable and well-run council, giving authority and credibility to its shock warnings of the consequences of underfunding.
East Sussex said that without more government funding, stripping services back to a core offer would be the best it could afford to deliver, although it added that without a sea change in local authority finances even this most basic model of municipal service might be unaffordable by 2021. …”