East Sussex County Council has unveiled plans to make £56 million of savings.

Council budget proposals reveal an axe is hanging over children’s centres, libraries and care for the elderly and disabled.

An estimated 300 jobs are also likely to go in the next year with more to follow before 2015.

However, the council has committed to spending almost £300 million on capital programmes from road building to school construction, which it claims could create tens of thousands of new jobs.

Among the proposals put forward by the Conservative-run council is a plan to merge eight youth centres into four.

There will also be a review of who receives social care funding from the council, with £4.7 million being cut from the adult social care budget over the next three years and the council admitting some people could have their care reduced or cut.

Residents are also being told they will have to wait longer for street lights to be repaired, with a recommended £250,000 cut in 2012/13 to street lighting maintenance.

The council has also admitted it is looking at whether some libraries could close, with bookworms being warned to expect longer waits in libraries and fewer books bought in.

However, the authority has confirmed council tax will not go up in East Sussex for 2012/13, meaning an average Band D property will continue to be charged £1,158.

Opposition response

Lib Dem opposition leader David Tutt said the proposals did not give enough information about how residents would be affected.

He said: “Do we need to produce ten-page leaflets on council news to push through people’s letterboxes? These are the areas we should be finding savings to reduce the impact on frontline services.”

Labour group deputy leader Godfrey Daniel said he was concerned about the wider implications of some of the cuts.

He said: “If you take an area like street lighting this has an impact not just on road users but on community safety.”

But council leader Peter Jones said the council was reaping the rewards of years of financial prudence.

He said: “Our plans for adult social care, as in children’s services, are about improving the service and making it more efficient.”

Read more about the East Sussex County Council budget in the two-page special report inside today's Argus.

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