Significant investment for West Sussex council

West Sussex County Council has confirmed plans towards a balanced budget for 2018/19 as it reveals a refreshed five-year programme.

A total of £800 million will be invested in key priorities, including: schools and younger residents, delivering over 2,500 new places for children in September 2019; roads and highways, funding seven major road schemes focused on improving safety and unlocking growth potential across the county; sustainable energy, developing more solar farms with the latest energy storage technologies, including for West Sussex schools; the local economy, supporting growth deals across the county, aiming to create 10,000 new jobs and delivering nearly 600,000 square metres of commercial floor space between now and 2022/23.

The investments form the council’s Capital Investment Programme, which has been refreshed and revised since it was presented to Full Council earlier this year.

At the same time the county council has outlined options to bridge a £22.3 million budget gap for 2018/19, caused by an increased demand on services and reduced funding from central government.

Savings and efficiencies of £18.8 million are being proposed to balance the books for the next financial year. However, further budget options of £3.5 million are still required before the financial budget is agreed in February next year.

Louise Goldsmith, leader of West Sussex County Council, said: “It is vital to us that we protect frontline services despite the financial challenges we face.

“We are focused on the needs of our residents and have made careful decisions about where to make savings and where to invest for the future of the county.

“There is still some work to do, but I’m confident that our budget planning is on course to deliver a balanced budget and an exciting package of investments which will benefit residents for many years to come.”

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