Two councils are battling to close multi-million-pound gaps in their budgets with plans to increase council tax and cut spending.

Both East and West Sussex County Councils are looking to find ways to bridge funding gaps of more than £20 million in the next year.

East Sussex County Council announced that they were facing a £27.3 million funding gap while West Sussex County Council needs to close a nearly £45 million gap.

Cllr Paul Marshall, leader of WSCC, said: "Inflationary costs, a growing need for services, and measures to protect the environment, mean councils across the country are having to make tough choices in order to plan for the future.

“We are very conscious that it is not our money we are spending, but our residents’ and businesses’ money, and that it is our responsibility to ensure the money is spent well in delivering cost-effective and value-for-money services.”


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An ESCC report added: “Given the national issues at play, we are experiencing similar significant financial pressures to others and now face a renewed challenge to maintain the decent and effective services our residents need and deserve in the medium term.

“Without further government support or sustainable reform of local government finances we will not have the funding we need in the medium term.”

The Argus:

Both councils are exploring options to bridge the gaps with West Sussex County Council anticipating that they can cut the gap to just £4 million.

These plans would involve increasing council tax by 2.99 per cent, the maximum allowed without holding a council referendum.

The £4.4 million gap was described as “challenging but achievable”.

East Sussex County Council has not announced plans for how they plan to cut the deficit but said that plans were being explored to “balance next year’s budget without reducing services”.

The worries come as other councils across the country have been facing bankruptcy.

Both councils have launched consultations to allow residents to have their say on budget plans.

Residents can have their say on the respective councils' websites.