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Government grants exceptional financial support

Statement from Councillor Stephen Holt, Leader of Eastbourne Borough Council

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"The government has accepted our request for the exceptional financial support.

"We asked for urgent support because of a social and financial crisis created by rising levels of homelessness and spiralling costs associated with temporary accommodation placements. 

"This is a national crisis and Eastbourne Borough Council led the campaign to highlight the threat it poses to the future viability of local councils.

"In Eastbourne we are spending 49p in every pound of council tax we collect on temporary accommodation.  The total cost to the council in this year alone is £5 million.

"In response, the government has agreed to borrowing of £3 million in 2023/24 and £3 million in 2024/25.

"While the funding support is welcome, I'm afraid it changes very little in the scale of savings now required and the very tough decisions we will have to take.

"We have to pay back the borrowing from the government at an added cost and meet the savings targets already identified. 

"This means that in order to achieve nearly £5 million in savings over the next financial year, every penny in discretionary council spending is under review. 

"Considering we have already saved £6 million over recent years, the scale of the challenge is significant.

"What is abundantly clear to all council leaders, is the system of funding local government is no longer fit for purpose. This has been reaffirmed even today in the recent report by the LGIU which stated that just 4% of councils have confidence in the sustainability of local government finance.

"And whichever political party wins the next general election, they must undertake a full review and find a sustainable solution.   If this isn't done, it is inevitable that frontline public services will fail and our most vulnerable residents will suffer most."

Published on February 29, 2024.

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