Adur, West & East Worthing Party including East Arun


A Liberal Democrat attempt to provide a £3million boost for community social services for the elderly, for preserving bus services, and to support the careers service for young people was rejected by the Tories at West Sussex County Council budget meeting yesterday (Friday 17th Feb).

Liberal Democrat Group leader Morwen Millson said  

“The Conservatives inherited a debt-free County Council from the Liberal Democrat led council in 1997. Since 2000 they have racked up a massive debt burden of £400million, and are now making massive cuts in front-line services. Last year, whilst pleading shortage of cash, they stashed away £7 million extra in reserves; this year they are planning to double that to another £15 million into cash reserves, taking the total usable reserves to around £140million!. Our amendment to reduce the effect of cuts on home care services for the elderly,and those with learning difficulties or mental health problems, to reduce cuts to bus services, and to provide 9 career advisors for unemployed and untrained young people was to take a mere £3m from this £140 million reserve. But the Conservatives chose to put it into reserves rather than helping the most vulnerable poor and elderly in West Sussex”

Dr James Walsh, deputy group leader said

“Our amendment would still freeze the Council Tax for another year, and use help ease the burden on thousands of vulnerable young and older people in our county. These cuts will produce short term cash savings, but they will mean less preventative work, and lead to more elderly admissions into expensive NHS care, or more quickly needing substantial social service care. For many young people it may lead to more anti-social behaviour, petty criminality, and in the worst case repeats of last summer’s rioting spreading to towns in West Sussex.
The Tory words calling for earlier intervention and preventative work in adult and youth services, and the NHS are not matched by action, and still less by funding”

Lib Dem Transport spokesman , Dr Nigel Dennis pointed out that;

“It was Mrs Thatcher who realised that privatisation would not work for all bus services, and that subsidies would be required to sustain many of them, especially in rural areas. Some 20% of our communities rely on bus services for their social life, shopping and medical care. The Tory cuts are going to make life still more difficult for many of these people in West Sussex.”