Council approves new Corporate Plan and Budget

PR2299/KH/MF - 01/10/2020

Mid Sussex District Council has agreed a revised Corporate Plan and Budget for 2020/21 in response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Councillors met on Wednesday 30 September to agree recovery plans, an updated four-year financial strategy and to approve measures that will protect the Council’s most important projects and services.

Coronavirus is an unprecedented crisis and the uncertainties surrounding it make planning for the future extremely challenging for local authorities. Over the past six months the Council has responded quickly to help support residents and businesses, taking on new responsibilities, but it is impossible to know how long this extra work will be required.

The extra spending required to support local communities, coupled with a significant loss of income because of the virus, means there is huge pressure on Council budgets. It is predicted that, even considering financial support provided by Central Government, the pandemic will cost the Council £8.3 million over the next 4 years.

The Council agreed the original Corporate Plan and Budget 2020/21 in February 2020. Since then, coronavirus has fundamentally changed the way people live their lives, and the way they access Council services. It is clear that the Council will not be able to undertake all of the projects and services in the way they were envisioned before the coronavirus outbreak and a revised Corporate Plan is required.

Councillor Jonathan Ash-Edwards, Leader of Mid Sussex District Council said:

“Coronavirus has been an unprecedented crisis with an uncertain outlook and it’s clear that the virus will be a fact of life for some time to come. We’re fortunate as a Council to be able to use our financial reserves to help us cope in the short-term but this cannot be forever, and we must start working now to generate revenue savings, balance our budget and protect our services for the future.

“This revised Corporate Plan and Budget is vital to help us concentrate on what our communities need most to help them through this crisis. Our focus is firmly on how we can support the Mid Sussex area to recover from the impacts of this pandemic as quickly as possible.

“We want to create a positive environment that will attract new businesses and investors to Mid Sussex, provide grants that will support existing businesses to adapt to a post pandemic world and deliver the Full Fibre digital infrastructure that’s necessary to enable business to flourish.

“One of the positives to come out of the pandemic is the way it has shown our community at its best, with many residents making enormous efforts to support their family, friends and neighbours through the crisis. It’s vitally important for us as a council to support the many voluntary organisations that enable us to have such strong and resilient communities.”

Mid Sussex District Council has played a leading role during the crisis including distributing business support grants to local firms, supporting community hubs to help local individuals and families in need, increasing provision for the homeless to get them off the streets and into accommodation, and providing advice and support to shops to allow them to open safely and follow social distancing guidelines.