East Sussex County Council have said growing financial pressures and the rising demand for social care are forcing it to restrict services to the most vulnerable residents only.
New evidence of the funding crisis facing local governments emerged after a second Tory-run council said it was preparing to cut back services to the bare legal minimum to cope with a cash shortfall that could leave it bankrupt within three years.
East Sussex County Council say that without more government funding, stripping their services back to a core offer would be the best it could afford to deliver, meaning the elderly and vulnerable are put at further risk. Although they added that without a sea change in local authority finances even this most basic model of municipal service might be unaffordable by 2021.
In a cabinet published by East Sussex County Council, its chief executive Becky Shaw, said: The council will need to concentrate on services that are in urgent need.”
The paper suggested Brexit and the announcement of extra funding for the NHS had limited minister’s scope to address wider social issues.
“Although the government has promised a review of how council funding is shared out and a green paper on social care funding for older people, the paper said any changes would not be in place until 2021, which leaves us with difficult decisions to make about the services we provide with our remaining resources,” said Ms Shaw.
The paper said with the county’s rapidly ageing population – a third of residents will be over 65 by 2031 – meant it could not maintain current levels of care. Ms Shaw said: “Our community will therefore need to take more responsibility for looking after themselves and each other to keep everyone safe and independent as look as possible.”