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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

More Crawley jobs at risk at seven local hotels as Premier Inn owner to cut 6,000 jobs

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Crawley and Gatwick have seven Premier Inns, one of the highest number in such a small area anywhere in the country.

Now jobs at each of these sites is at a potential risk as Premier Inn owner Whitbread announced that plans that up to 6,000 jobs could be cut as they try to survive through the Coronavirus.

Whitbread said that it was in consultation with staff and was hopeful that a majority of the cuts would come from voluntary redundancy.

It added that they had taken the decision due to ‘subdued demand’ with some reports suggesting the company had lost three quarters (80%) of its sales in just the first half of the year when they were forced to close.

Whitbread also owns Brewers Fayre which has locations next to many of the Hotels, but it is not clear how many jobs may be at risk proportionally between the two brands.

With so many of their hotels in and around Crawley it is likely that many more jobs will be lost locally leading to more pressure on the local council to help those in financial need.

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