The Cabinets of both Eastbourne Borough and East Sussex County Councils have met recently by way of video conferences. Both reacted swiftly to the Coronavirus, spent large sums to address this and as a consequence have significant financial challenges ahead. For their part the Government have given some extra monies to local government but these fall a long way short of covering the additional expenditure, so how can they make ends meet? I believe that one way is to look at the differences that the pandemic has brought about in the way that we work and question, given the success that has been achieved in terms of remote working, whether they need all of the office accommodation they currently occupy. Let’s not simply drift back to the old ways of working before fully assessing the opportunities to do things differently in the future.
One of the important issues that the County considered was an inspection report into multi-agency response to children’s mental health. The inspection report made many positive comments about how this issue is addressed but also identified 18 areas for development and these have been responded to in a multi-agency action plan. It is good that mental health is now more widely understood. I believe that the long-term impact of CV19 is likely to mean an increase in the mental health challenges that people face and the more that these are discussed openly, the better.
At the Borough Council, the Cabinet considered the draft plan for the Downland estate. This sets out the vision for the downs over the next 25 years, conserving this iconic landscape and the cultural heritage of which we are custodians. To deliver this will mean working closely with partners such as The South Downs National Park; the trustees of the Beachy Head Countryside Centre and local farmers. Collectively, we can ensure the preservation of this important part of our heritage for the enjoyment of future generations.