Cllr Paul Sparks, Liberal Democrat, North Ward, told members of the town council’s general purposes committee last night that the scale of cuts proposed by the county to adult social care alone was “frightening”.
He said £67 million of overall savings of £90 million were allocated to come from adult social care.
He added: “To put this into context this would be £300 a year less to spend for each man, woman and child.”
Cllr Sparks said a lot of the items listed, where savings could be made, related to voluntary services, including services residents had found extremely valuable such those run by Age UK and activities run at the Bellbrook Centre. He added women’s refuge centres would close.
Cllr Sparks said: “I think we need to be thinking very carefully of how we are going to try to replace services which both Wealden District Council and East Sussex County Council have provided in the past, which our residents have valued.
“We seem to be the last resort. If we don’t do anything these services are just going to go.”
Cllr Sparks went on to argue: “I think we have got to accept we are in a new world now and the previous basis where the county council did that, the district council did that and the town council did this has gone out of the window.
“The amount of spending reductions are so severe that we are in a position where we have either got to take responsibility and try to help the residents of Uckfield or we stand back and lose these services. Nobody else is going to step in. We are the last resort.”
Members of the general purposes committee had considered spending £24,200 on removing moss from the Civic Centre roof and replacing guttering – but decided instead to undertake as much work as could be done by their own staff and postpone the bigger job.
That money could then go towards setting aside £25,000 for “community support” in the general purposes draft budget.
It was agreed that a services working group already established by the environment and leisure committee should become a joint working group and look into how the money should be used.
Other items approved for inclusion in the draft budget included:
- Weald Hall floor replacement – £10,000 towards eventual replacement
- Luxfords cold room replacement – £2,500 towards eventual replacement
- Victoria toilet doors – £3,000 towards replacing toilet doors at the Victoria Pleasure Ground with coin-operated units.
- Foresters Hall replacement soffits and fascias – £5,000 towards eventual replacements
- 2019 elections – £5,750 towards the possible costs of the elections
- Building Maintenance Programme – £49,400
General purposes committee members present at the meeting included:
Chair: Cllr Ian Smith, Independent, Ridgewood
Vice-chair: Cllr Paul Meakin, Liberal Democrat, Central
Cllr Jacqueline Beckford, Liberal Democrat, Ridgewood
Cllr Keith Everett, Independent, Ridgewood
Cllr Helen Firth, Conservative, Central
Cllr Paul Sparks, Liberal Democrat, North
Cllr Diane Ward, Trust Independent, Central
Apologies were received from:
Cllr James Anderson, Trust Independent, North
Cllr Louise Eastwood, Trust Independent, North