7:00am Friday 10th December 2010
By Tim Ridgway
A council has unveiled how it will meet Government cutbacks.
With an annual budget of nearly £1 billion, West Sussex County Council has the largest budget of any local authority in the county.
In recent months politicians and finance teams have been working to meet the target of making £75 million of savings in the next three years.
After much deliberation, the resultant proposal exceeds its target - £79 million or 8% of its total budget - and sees cuts to public transport, social workers and youth support services.
Adults deemed to have “moderate” need for care will receive less support while libraries and theatres will have funding withdrawn.
Other services will be handed to the private sector.
Council leader Louise Goldsmith said the changes would save money, improve services and allow people greater control.
But opposition councillors suggested rural communities and those just above the lower income threshold would suffer the most.
The plan will be discussed at a full council meeting on Thursday.
It will then pass through the cross party scrutiny panels before being adopted at the local authority's budget meeting in February.
Meanwhile, fire services in Sussex could be united.
East and West Sussex Fire and Rescue Services could work together if increased collaboration preserves frontline services to the public.
Last night key representatives said “no options have been ruled out” in their quest for greater efficiency in the face of meeting Government cuts.
Both services will now develop a business case that will examine potential options.
The options will go before both services in March 2011.
For a full report on this story see today's Argus.
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