TRANSPORT, care and youth services are under threat as part of council cost-cutting of £53 million.

West Sussex County Council is looking to make the budget cuts over the next four years.

It follows the announcement of £140 million of cuts in 2013 and £79 million in 2010 at the local authority.

This year the council has £536 million to spend on services but this is estimated to fall to £483 million by 2018 to 2019.

Cutbacks in government grants mean the council will have a funding gap of £124 million in that period. To balance the books councillor Michael Brown, cabinet member for finance, said the council would again choose “radical efficiency measures and productivity improvement” over tax increases and service cuts in a meeting on Friday.

He said funding would eventually disappear completely, making matters “incredibly difficult.”

There were £50.4 million in grants available this year, but this would reduce to £21 million next year, he said.

Councillor James Walsh, for Littlehampton East, said: “Youth services, bus services, services for elderly people and social care have all been cut and are likely to be cut further. Please can we have less of this nonsense that there haven’t been cuts.”

Children services face a reduced budget of £5.2 million between 2015 and 2017, £5.1 million for health and adult social care, and £7.9 million for residents’ services and £2.3 million for highways and transport, the report said. The budget will be finalised at a meeting in February.

Councillor Peter Lamb, for Northgate and Three Bridges, said the plan was “cleverly written”, adding: “I agree there is more ground to be made up but things are going to get a whole lot worse for people on the front line.”

Councilllor Richard Burrett, for Pound Hill and Worth, branded the budgeting an “achievement” and said: “The opposition parties and the press say cuts but they are service improvements and savings. I really challenge anyone to say we are cutting frontline services.”

Louise Goldsmith, leader of the council, said: “It is a very tight financial landscape that we live in and will be for some time yet. But despite the money doom and gloom we still need to provide our services. We are living in challenging times and we have to respond.”

Last week £90 million of planned cutbacks were announced at East Sussex County Council.