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Outrage as West Sussex cuts housing support by £4 million

The budget has been finalised and now the fallout has started as West Sussex County Council race round to calm the fears as the full impact of the cuts is examined.

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It has been the subject of heated debate both in and out of council meetings across Sussex.

Only two months ago political leaders from all sides of the spectrum expressed concerns over the proposed cuts by West Sussex County Council.

Now those cuts have been realised and the heated debate from within the council chambers is overflowing onto the streets.

Members of the West Sussex Council Cabinet have approved a number of measures to deliver what they call a ‘balanced budget’ for 2019/2020.

They say:

“Like many local authorities across the country, the council faces unprecedented financial pressures. In the last eight years it has saved almost £200m and in the same period, government funding has been cut by £145m.

The council still faces a huge financial challenge going forward. The county has an aging population and people are living longer with more complex health conditions. At the same time, the complexity and vulnerability of the children the council supports continues to increase. As a result, the authority faces an increasing demand for children’s and adults’ social care services and special educational needs support – services which the county council alone is responsible for providing.”

Whilst there are cuts across many areas it is the housing related support that has attracted the most attention.

West Sussex says:

“The council continues to invest £4.6m in 2019/20 in housing related support, making savings of £1.7m, with a proposed further reduction of £2.3m in 2020/21.”

It was the fear that many organisations, residents and councillors have been fighting against but now it seems that those fears have been realised.

The news came out on the same day that students from a Crawley school did a sleep-out overnight to raise money for the homeless charity Open House.

But with news of the cuts comes the backlash from political heavyweights such as Crawley’s own leader of the council Peter Lamb who tweeted:

But not all political leaders responded in the same way.

Crawley MP Henry Smith tweeted that Crawley Borough Council were granted money to tackle homelessness and they should address this themselves rather than complain:

https://twitter.com/HenrySmithUK/status/1075307932517048321

Whilst it is clear there will be fallout whenever there are budget cuts it seems that the debate will rage on about the issue but what is not clear is how councils across Sussex including Crawley will respond formally.

A lot of people will be watching anxiously.

Business

Furniture Village opens its doors in Crawley’s County Oak Retail Park

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Crawley welcomes Furniture Village who will open a brand-new store in County Oak retail park this Boxing Day.

The new location offers a Carpetright concession, providing a one-stop-shop for customers looking to update their homes.

Visitors to the new Furniture Village store will be invited to create their ‘home in one’, by exploring collections for every room of the house, from sofas to beds to dining.

Charlie Harrison, Commercial Director at Furniture Village, comments:

“With much of the UK under lockdown, I’m delighted we’ve been able to open our new store in Crawley. County Oak is a fantastic shopping destination and the ideal choice for Furniture Village.

“It’s been a challenging year for everyone, but I am incredibly proud of the Furniture Village team which continues to offer industry-leading quality, choice and service. As well as Family Retailer of the Year, we’ve also been awarded National Bed Retailer of the Year so I’m particularly looking forward to welcoming customers to our new bed department.”

The store will see a team of 11 expert sales consultants offering valuable insights and advice to customers, all made possible thanks to enhanced Covid-19 safety measures.

These include temperature checks, PPE for all staff and hand sanitisation stations, along with an appointment booking system which can be accessed via the website.

Charlie Harrison, Commercial Director at Furniture Village, adds:

“Customer safety is still, and will continue to be, a priority for us. The feedback from all of our existing stores continues to be overwhelmingly positive, with the appointment booking system providing reassurance and exceptional service for customers.”

The store will open at 9am on Saturday 26th December 2020. Opening offers include Sale discounts of up to 50% plus an additional £50 off every £500 spent.

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