It is April 2019, and life in East Sussex looks rather different.

A new mother is getting some advice from a nursery nurse at the children’s centre where health and family support are now combined. The library’s closed today (although the electronic library never shuts), which is perhaps just as well because a team of volunteers are cutting the grass outside and making plenty of noise. Meanwhile, the local health and social care team are using software to remotely check the vital health signs (such as blood pressure) of a number of people in the community with long term conditions…

This is purely imaginary – and it’s only one version of what could happen. But there’s no doubt, however we imagine the future, that services in our county will soon be dramatically different because, over the next four years, the money for services in East Sussex will be sharply reduced.

At East Sussex County Council, we’ll still be able to allocate about £350 million a year to vital services. Our priorities – protecting the vulnerable, helping people to help themselves, and driving economic growth will guide the councillors you elected in spending your money where it will have the biggest impact: plans are already being drawn up.

Around 20% less to invest

We need to get the very best value from these resources because they are shrinking – we expect we’ll have about 20 per cent less to invest in the county by 2019. This will mean we have about £600 less each year for every household in East Sussex than we did at the start of the decade.

The result will be some very tough choices, as Cllr David Elkin, lead member for resources, explains:
“We will need to change how some services are provided, others may have to stop altogether and we may have to reduce many others. The truth is that services in East Sussex will look
very different in future.”

Changes are happening because a national decision has been taken to reduce how much the UK spends on public services. All local authorities are receiving less money in central government grant than they used to. At the same time, especially in East Sussex, demand for those services is rising, not least because of a growing elderly population.

East Sussex County Council budget

East Sussex County Council budget

The County Council has a strong record in managing difficult spending decisions for East Sussex; we’ve had to prove how capable and flexible we can be. We’ve already reduced spending by £78 million since 2010 and now are planning to save a similar amount, between £70 million and £90 million, over the three years to 2019. We’ll build up partnerships and find new ways of working with communities to help achieve this.

Together we’ll take control of where East Sussex ends up in these challenging times. We’ve already developed ideas but we’d also like to know how you see the future. What are your thoughts on how we can work together? Where do you think resources should be targeted?

And what do you imagine services in East Sussex should look like in future?

To find out more and have your say visit savings.