Cabinet councillors have considered plans to achieve further ‘efficiencies and savings’ as Eastbourne responds to the impact of the cost of living crisis, economic downturn and covid pandemic on council finances.

Only this week the council hosted an emergency summit where 158 councils joined with Eastbourne to discuss the social and financial crisis created by the costs associated with homelessness.

Eastbourne Borough Council had to find an additional £2.6 million in 2022/23 to fund temporary accommodation costs and the 2023/24 figure has risen to £3.6 million.

Councillor Stephen Holt, Leader of Eastbourne Borough Council, said:

“I hosted a summit on Tuesday that welcomed council leaders and senior council officers from across the country. Representing 158 authorities, they all shared a similar story, the escalating costs they are facing are unsustainable.

“The Chancellor, Jeremy Hunt, will soon deliver his Autumn Statement and he must intervene to avert a UK financial crisis in local government or the safety net that our most vulnerable residents rely on is at real risk of failing.”

With a savings target of £3.4 million for the 2024/25 budget, the council’s stabilisation and growth programme has already identified extensive savings in 2023/24 to mitigate the impact of the factors being managed.

Councillor Holt added:

“In the face of these severe external pressures on our finances, the purpose of the Stability and Growth Programme is two-fold, to enable efficiencies and savings within the council, while also moving the council and the borough to a position of financial strength which enables growth and diversification in the longer term.”

Areas of particular focus include digital savings by the alignment of different systems, organisational efficiency and additional income recovery and the review of assets to reduce subsidy requirements.