Council facing cuts as funding gets slashed

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PEOPLE are facing cuts to services as Rother Council are hit by the Government grant reduction

The council says it is not ruling out the possibility that future levels of service may be reduced in certain areas for residents, as a result of this week’s announcement.

The actual reduction, effective for the next two years, is 5.56 percent - £0.8 million - which on the surface seems better than Hastings, which has been cut by 8.9 percent.

But Rother say that in real terms the cut will amount to 16.8 percent.

A council spokesman said: “Despite Government assurances that no local authority will lose more than 8.9 per cent of its funding in the grant settlement for the coming year, the figure, when calculated in real-terms, will be far in excess of this.

“The total reduction over a four-year period will be greater than the 28 per cent trailed by the Government earlier this year.

“The council believes this is likely to result in changes to the way services are delivered and could result in approaches to community organisations to take on some of the workload.

Rye Rother councillor Sonia Holmes said: “I don’t think there will be job losses at Rother, that will come from natural wastage.

“Parish councils may see an impact on them in the services that are provided.

“It is very difficult but it will take time. This is a gradual process. It will not happen overnight.”

Rother leader Cllr Carl Maynard said: “This is disappointing news for the authority.

“However, Rother has been planning for just such a worst case scenario and we have already put in place several measures which are producing savings. We will continue to implement ways of finding more efficiencies by changing the way we work, and many ideas for change have been identified by the council over the past few months.

“Real savings have already been identified by working with other authorities, private partners and putting in place a pay and recruitment freeze, among many other things. Given the level of savings which need to be found, we may be moving some of our longer term saving plans forward.

“It is even more of a challenge when you consider that Rother District Council already has the lowest staffing levels and lowest Council Tax in East Sussex.”

Cllr Maynard added: “Rother is in a strong position to cope with this situation due to its prudent financial management in the past and its proven ability to adapt and change the way it delivers services.

“The reality is though, people will have to accept other organisations running some services or a change to the levels of service in certain areas. There is simply not the money in place now to deliver all we used to and members of the public will have to understand that fact.

“Clearly we will look to engage with residents in this process and seek their opinions over the matter of any changes to services.”