A NUMBER of Conservative council leaders in Sussex will be voicing their concerns to the Government over the considerable savings they will have to make over the next four years.

Tory leaders of West Sussex County Council, Adur and Worthing Councils, Arun District Council, Chichester District Council, Horsham District Council and Mid Sussex District Council will write jointly to the Government to spell out the “difficult decisions” they will have to make as they look to save £146 million by 2022.

Only Labour controlled Crawley Borough Council has declined to join them in withdrawing funds from certain services such as housing for the homeless and using it to meet the ever-growing demands of adult and child social care.

In a joint statement, West Sussex Labour councillors said: “Callous and despicable abolition of housing support funding by West Sussex Tories will cause a ‘homelessness epidemic’.”

Labour councillor Michael Jones attacked the move and said: “The Government has been cutting the funds for the council drastically since 2010.

“But for far too long the Tory leadership at West Sussex County Council went along with it, when in fact what they should have been doing is standing up for their residents, saying it’s not acceptable.

“As far as I am concerned, these so-called ‘difficult decisions’ are just the tip of the iceberg.

“They are going to severely affect the poorest and most vulnerable members of society in West Sussex.”

Conservative Louise Goldsmith, leader of West Sussex County Council, said: “Local authorities across the country are having to make really difficult decisions about how to spend their ever-decreasing finances and West Sussex is no exception to that.

“In West Sussex we have an ageing population, which means people are living longer with more complex health conditions and are needing more support.”

She added: “At the same time the complexity and vulnerability of the children we support continues to increase.”

The group of Conservative-controlled councils acknowledged the next four-year period lacked sufficient funding.

Therefore, it was agreed to write collectively to the Government highlighting the difficult decisions which will have to be made due to the reduced amount of money available.

That is likely to lead to the termination of housing support contracts because money will need to be used elsewhere, especially given social care services are not adequately funded.

Ms Goldsmith added: “These are not decisions we want to make, but they are ones we are forced to make.

“That is because the available government funding is insufficient for the needs of our residents.

“We are acutely aware how much all of our residents, particularly the most vulnerable, rely on us to keep them safe, supported and well.”

Peter Lamb, Labour leader of Crawley Borough Council, has issued a formal complaint where he outlines his view that West Sussex County Council, controlled by the Tories, should make a full public apology.