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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.

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K2 Crawley and other local leisure centres to reopen next week

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Local leisure centres in Crawley are set to reopen after being given the green light by Prime Minister Boris Johnson. 

K2 Crawley, Broadfield 3G Pitch and Pavilion and the Bewbush Centre, managed by sports and leisure operator Everyone Active in partnership with Crawley Borough Council, will reopen their doors on Wednesday 2 December following a month’s closure due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Government has confirmed all leisure centres across all tiers will be safe to reopen with strict operational measures in place.

However, local restrictions mean some activities are not available at some centres. Full information on how the tier system affects your local centre is available here.

Everyone Active has committed to keeping its customers safe and active, ensuring it will meet and exceed Government guidelines to prevent the spread of Covid-19 with the Everyone Active Pledge. Full detail on the operator’s pledge and safety measures can be found here.

While its 200 leisure centres across the country have been closed, Everyone Active has provided a comprehensive package of online workouts for people to use, along with live streamed classes across its social media pages.

Jon Hodgson, Everyone Active’s contract manager, said:

“We’re very much looking forward to reopening our centres and welcoming back the local community.

“After being closed for a month, this announcement from Government is the news the leisure industry has been eagerly awaiting.

“It is very important to give people the opportunity to resume activity and exercise in their leisure centre, particularly during the winter months, and this will go a long way to maintaining the good health of local communities.

“We would like to thank the 615,000 people across the country who signed the petition we supported to keep gyms open, which triggered a Parliamentary debate, and to acknowledge the impressive manner in which the leisure industry has pulled together.

“We would also like to thank Crawley Borough Council for their support, which has proved invaluable during this challenging year.

“Ensuring our colleagues and customers remain safe is our number one priority and we have carefully considered the strict measurements to ensure we adhere to the guidance.

“We will be contacting all customers directly over the coming days regarding the centres reopening. We look forward to welcoming everyone back and thank them for their patience.”

For further information on Everyone Active and its leisure centres, visit www.everyoneactive.com.

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