RESIDENTS across East Sussex must pay nearly six per cent more council tax after more than £17 million cuts were announced.

The county council voted to approve the Conservatives’ budget for 2018/2019 at a full council meeting on Tuesday.

A number of cuts to frontline services were passed as well as the 5.99 per cent rise in council tax, including the three per cent adult social care levy.

Despite opposition from all parties and their proposed amendments to the level of cuts and savings planned, the Conservative majority on the council meant the budget passed comfortably.

Conservative councillor David Elkin, deputy leader of the council and vice-chairman of the cabinet, said: “We believe this is the best set of options in the difficult circumstances we face.

“We face a further £31 million of savings over the next two years.

“It will be a very difficult time for our residents.”

The average Band D household will have to pay £78 more a year – £1,393.

Savings would be made by making changes to the management of certain forms of waste, decreasing the number of household waste recycling sites, cutting adult social care services, stroke services and services for older people, as well as reviewing library services across the county.

The Lib Dems proposed an amendment calling for the budget to be reduced in some areas in order to cut £7 million less than the Conservatives, including saving more than £3.5 million on staffing budgets.

Lib Dem councillors attempted to fully or partially reinstate savings and cuts planned for older people’s services, assessment and care management, home to school transport, the Stroke Association and libraries.

Defending the amendment proposals, Lib Dem Councillor Philip Daniel said it is “reasonable, even if radical”.

Councillors debated the future of Firwood House and Milton Grange care homes in Eastbourne, which residents fear may be shut down to facilitate the £1.2 million savings intended for older people’s services.

More than 8,000 people have already signed a petition objecting to the closures.

With reviews and consultations still being held over plans for the care homes and library closures, Lib Dem councillors repeatedly challenged the budget, saying it had a £2 million “black hole”.

Councillor Carl Maynard, lead member for adult social care and health, accused the Lib Dems of past “scaremongering”, slamming their amendment proposals concerning care homes.

Cllr Elkin said: “Where do you think this debt has come from?

“We are paying back Gordon Brown’s credit cards.

“That is why we are under such huge pressure.”