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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.

Education

Now’s the time to apply to for your child’s secondary school place in Crawley

Families with children due to start secondary school in September 2020 can now apply for places online.

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Applications will be open until Thursday 31 October 2019.

Parents should apply for their child’s secondary school place by the deadline. Applying after the deadline will seriously affect the chances of your child being offered one of your preferred schools.

The quickest and easiest way to get information and apply is online: www.westsussex.gov.uk/school-places but those unable to apply online can request a form by calling 03330 142903.

The secondary school application online process is quick and simple, and an automatic email will acknowledge that the application has been received. Free use of computers with internet access is available in all West Sussex libraries.

Tips to remember when applying for secondary school applications: 

  • Parents are encouraged to apply for up to three schools and must list them in order of preference.
  • A child is not guaranteed a place at a school just because they are in the catchment area. Parents will need to select the catchment school as part of their application for it to be considered.
  • Those who miss the deadline for applications must still submit an application form, as a child will not automatically be allocated a school.

Richard Burrett, Cabinet Member for Education and Skills said:

“This is an important step for children and their families, and we want to ensure the process runs as smoothly as possible. I would encourage all parents to submit their applications on time to give us the best opportunity to meet your preferences for your children. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact the Admissions Team.”

Primary or junior school applications

Applications for children due to start primary or junior school in September 2020 open on Monday 7 October and close on Wednesday 15 January 2020, more details to follow.

West Sussex County Council staff are available to advise parents on the admissions process. Parents can telephone 03330 142903 or email the Admissions Team North at admissions.north@westsussex.gov.uk or the Admissions Team South at admissions.south@westsussex.gov.uk.  

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