County council ‘can’t deliver good services on peanuts’

Councils have seen their share of funding drastically reduce under the Government's austerity programme since 2010
Councils have seen their share of funding drastically reduce under the Government's austerity programme since 2010

West Sussex councillors have hit back at criticism from local MPs, saying they ‘can’t deliver good services on peanuts’.

The county recently received highly critical reports about its children’s services and the fire and rescue service, which prompted a blistering attack from Mid Sussex MP Sir Nicholas Soames about a ‘failure of leadership and management’.

He took it upon himself to share ‘grave concerns’ with James Brokenshire, the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, and asked him to look into why things have gone so wrong.

West Sussex has seen its central government funding cut by £145m since 2010.

At a meeting of the full council on Friday (July 19) Bob Lanzer, cabinet member for corporate relations called for ‘greater equality’ when it came to the funding of each local authority.

Mr Lanzer said: “When MPs criticise our service, we always need to remember that MPs of all political parties have it in their power to vote for increased funding for fire and rescue across the United Kingdom.”

His views were shared by Morwen Millson (Lib Dem, Horsham Riverside) who told the council: “It’s not right that they who have the ability to control our funding with their votes in Parliament should constantly take it upon themselves to take pot-shots at what you guys are doing.”

Leader Louise Goldsmith has written to the government several times about funding, and Mrs Millson suggested that every single councillor should now do the same.

She added: “Our MPs need to know that we cannot deliver good services on peanuts.”