Next Tuesday, February 9, at 10am, East Sussex County Council meets to debate and vote on the county budget for 2016/2017.
Numerous cuts to essential frontline services proposed by the minority Conservative administration include: -
The removal of onsite support from 93 schemes across East Sussex.
These include Thalia House on London Road in central Bexhill.
The decision is likely to increase social isolation, reducing the physical and mental wellbeing of many residents.
Alternatively, Amicus Horizon might fill the gap by increasing rents.
A similar cut is proposed to the five extra care sheltered housing schemes including the Orangery in Sidley, which has yet to be opened and which considerable public money has recently been spent to construct.
Whilst residents will continue to benefit from the floating support service, not based onsite, the preventative care element enabling potential crises in health or welfare to be addressed early, is likely to decrease.
The abolition of the universal access provision to children’s centres across East Sussex.
Although already much reduced, these currently provide baby and toddler play activities that assist early year’s learning, music groups, breastfeeding support and family learning.
They stimulate speech, language development and social interaction in children.
Many mums cried on learning about the proposed abolition of this service.
If this proposal is voted through next Tuesday, this service is likely to become reactive rather than preventative.
This is not good news for a new generation of children, particularly those with parents at the lower end of the income scale who will not be able to afford these services privately and are more likely to be disadvantaged later in life.
But all is not lost.
I understand that both the 10-strong Liberal Democrat group and the seven-strong Labour group will be moving amendments to the Conservative budget at County Hall.
With three independents from the Lewes and Polegate areas likely to support them, the balance of power rests with the four county councillors representing Bexhill.
I urge the four county councillors representing divisions in Bexhill to bat for Bexhill regardless of their political affiliations.
Their combined votes could save the on-site scheme manager at Thalia House, the state of the art services planned for the Orangerie, and Bexhill’s two outstanding children’s centres.
Should you wish to write to, email or phone your county councillors, their contact details are available on the East Sussex County Council website.
Or you could obtain them from me.
My contact details are: email@example.com or 01424 222 761 or 07712 178 546.
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