32.1 The Cabinet considered a report by the Chief Executive
32.2 It was RESOLVED to:
1) note progress on activity, spending and savings plans for 2018/19 and agree to their further development for consideration by Cabinet in January 2018;
2) agree the areas of search for savings in 2019/20 and 2020/21 as set out in paragraph 8.3 of the report and note that specific proposals for activity, spending and saving in these years will be brought forward when there is greater certainty about future funding; and
3) agree not to pursue a bid for a Business Rate Pilot and to note work with the Borough and District Councils towards reinstating the East Sussex Business Rate Pool in 2018/19;
4) agree to delegate authority to the Chief Executive, in consultation with the Chief Finance Officer, to decide whether to enter into the East Sussex Business Rate Pool from 2018 onwards and to agree the terms of, and enter into, any agreements necessary to facilitate participation in the pool; and
5) Agree that the Chief Finance Officer shall review the Council’s membership of the Pool on an annual basis.
32.3 The report has set out a stark vision by 2020/21 in which the County Council is only able to meet the needs of the most vulnerable and provide the most basic of statutory services. If that is all that resources will allow, the Council will seek to mitigate the impact by:
· continuing to be relentless in our pursuit of our priority outcomes and value for money;
· seeking alternative sources of funding; and
· being bold and creative in the extent of our partnership working across and beyond East Sussex.
32.4 We are not, however, prepared to accept that minimum position as inevitable. The case for investment in East Sussex and for the role of Local Government to help our residents, communities and business fulfil their potential is strong and undiminished by austerity. We will work with others to make this case in the strongest terms and, through all our efforts, will ensure that local services are in the strongest state possible in 2020/21.