We are being urged to stand up for East Sussex by calling on the Government to give them a fairer deal.
Today’s (3 October) launch of the campaign Stand Up for East Sussex asks residents to sign a petition to the Prime Minister, which calls for an urgent rethink on the resources the county receives. It warns that real hardship will result if the particular needs of East Sussex are not taken into account, with the public services many residents rely on stretched beyond their limit.
The county has a high and fast-growing elderly population, wages below the national average, few large firms to boost its business rates and a transport network which often lets residents down.
Yet savings of £112 million have been made from services in East Sussex since the start of the decade – enough to meet the yearly costs of caring for 5,600 vulnerable people, or to repair 2 million potholes. East Sussex County Council expects to need another £22 million of savings from public services in the coming year unless the Government gives the county a fairer deal. Further savings of £36 million are expected to be needed between 2019 and 2021, on current forecasts.
The campaign also highlights the county’s successes, even in difficult times. Its economy has grown faster than the rest of the country, more than nine out of 10 primary schools are now rated good or outstanding and progress in integrating social care and health is helping more vulnerable people to live safely at home.
The petition calls on the Government to help East Sussex do more to build on these successes. It asks for the county to be given control of spending on skills, more power to decide on transport improvements and agreement to integrate health and social care in East Sussex.
Launching Stand Up for East Sussex, the county council’s leader Cllr Keith Glazier said, “Today we’re asking people who live or work in East Sussex to stand up for the county by signing this petition. This is a wonderful place to live, to work and to retire and we’re rightly proud of our achievements together. But we’ve reached the point where national support for East Sussex has shrivelled to harmfully-low levels.
“We’re only 50 miles from Westminster but sometimes it feels as though the needs of the people who live and work here are out of sight. It’s fair that we play our part in reducing national public spending even when that involves some very tough decisions. But a genuinely fair deal for our county would allow us and our partners to make real improvements to peoples’ lives. That’s why we are asking everyone to support the campaign by taking a minute to sign the petition.”
The petition can be found online.