Thousands of West Sussex children set to enjoy free school meals for the first time
Wednesday, 03 September 2014 09:25

From this week around 25,000 pupils in reception classes and years one and two will be able to enjoy school meals for the first time, free of charge.

Every infant aged child is now able to receive free healthy and nutritious meals, thanks to a government initiative which could save parents over £300 per child annually.

Schools are responsible for ordering the meals so there is no need for parents to worry.

West Sussex County Council Cabinet Member for Education and Skills, Jeremy Hunt, said: “We’re delighted to be able to introduce these free meals for infant aged children. As well as saving parents money, having a healthy and nutritious meal can also help improve concentration in the classroom.

“The expansion of the infant and primary school meal service has also seen the creation of 250 new part-time jobs in the county, so the initiative is also having a positive effect on our local economy.”

Although parents don’t need to do anything for their children to receive the meals, they are being urged to take a few moments to check if they can unlock extra funding for their child’s school.

Consultation on Parking for Crawley
Tuesday, 02 September 2014 14:30

About 2,400 households and businesses affected by parking arrangements in Pound Hill and Three Bridges, Crawley, are being asked to take part in a public consultation.

West Sussex County Council is carrying out a parking review of the area.

Their response to the questionnaire will help determine if, and what, changes may be needed.

A deadline of Monday 22 September 2014 has been set for responses.

Parking arrangements in the town have been monitored by the County Council and Crawley Borough Council in recent months.

Feedback from residents indicated some areas outside existing parking schemes have suffered from congestion and access difficulties.

Car parking by commuters, town centre workers, shoppers and visitors has become commonplace in residential roads, affecting the traffic and road safety.

Suggestions have been made that the boundaries of residents’ parking schemes, in Pound Hill and Three Bridges, should be changed.

East Crawley’s County Local Committee Chairman, Richard Burrett 9Consrvative) said:  “We are asking people for their views on the parking arrangements in their street and whether they would like any changes to be made.

“This is an informal consultation to test the water, and we would like to stress that no changes will be made at this stage of the process.

“The consultation will establish whether it is worth investing time and money in preparing more detailed proposals and carrying out a further, more extensive consultation on any proposed changes.”

All comments will be reported to members of the East Crawley County Local Committee later this year.

If a decision is made to prepare any initial proposals, there will be at least two further consultation exercises before a final decision is made.

Learn more about Road Safety in Horsham
Monday, 01 September 2014 00:00

People with worries about road safety in rural parts of Horsham have a chance to discuss them next week.

A community safety road show is visiting Henfield, Steyning, Storrington, Billingshurst and Pulborough to meet residents face to face.

Neighbourhood police, fire and safety officers, and road safety experts will be on hand to chat about issues bothering people.

Distractions while driving, drink and drugs, road safety around schools, and using buses are issues the experts are happy to discuss.

County Council Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport, Pieter Montyn, said: “This is a good opportunity for people who have anything bothering them about road safety to have a chat about it.

“Whether it be concerns about your children driving safely, a particular location you feel is dangerous, or anything else, come and speak to the experts.

“Plenty of advice and expertise will be available on the stands each day, so we invite everybody to make the most of it.

“If we can’t help on the day, we can make sure the issue is passed on to someone who can.”   

The road shows take place between 10.00am and 2.00pm at:

  • Monday 1 September 2014 – Henfield Hall off Coopers Way, Henfield;
  • Tuesday 2 September 2014 – High Street Car Park, Steyning;
  • Wednesday 3 September 2014 – Place Villarest (junction of High Street and Old Mill Drive), Storrington;
  • Thursday 4 September 2014 – Billingshurst Library car park, Billingshurst; and
  • Friday 5 September 2014 – Pulborough, Tesco Car Park.

The road shows have been co-ordinated by West Sussex County Council, West Sussex Fire and Rescue, Sussex Police and Horsham District Council.

Apply now for "Be the Business" grants
Friday, 29 August 2014 00:00

“Apply now and let us help you unlock the potential in your business”. That’s the message from the Leader of West Sussex County Council Louise Goldsmith as the deadline for the latest round of ‘Be the Business’ funding approaches.

Businesses can apply for a share of the £600,000 fund, which is designed to help support the local economy and create jobs by offering grants of up to £25,000 to small and medium sized local businesses.

To qualify for a grant, applicants must be located in West Sussex and, if applicable, be paying business rates there. Alternatively they could be about to start up a company in, or be planning relocation to, West Sussex.

The closing date for applications is 5.00pm on Monday 15 September 2014.

Louise said: “So far we have had a great response from local businesses keen to tap into the help and support available from the County Council, but we want to hear from more before the application deadline.

“A wide range of businesses from across the county have already applied to the fund, both established organisations and new initiatives looking to start up in West Sussex. However I’m sure there are many others out there who are looking for that extra boost to help them take the next step in their business.

“We know that local businesses need better access to finance and support in order to develop and grow. ‘Be the Business’ is designed to help address those issues and the more we can do to help create the conditions that allow businesses to prosper in the county, the better it is for everyone.”

Full details of how to apply to the fund are available at Be the Business.

A decision on which applications have been successful is expected in November.

"Think Family" project in West Sussex is one of the best in the UK
Thursday, 21 August 2014 09:29

A West Sussex scheme that helps families change their lives for the better has been highlighted as one of the best of its kind in the country.

The West Sussex Think Family Partnership, led by West Sussex County Council, is the local version of the Government’s Troubled Families initiative and works with families most in need of help and support. 

The Partnership works by assigning a dedicated worker to engage with a whole family on all of its problems, such as ensuring that children attend school, parents get back to work, addressing anti-social behaviour and generally helping families to turn their lives around.  It includes a range of organisations and people, including district and borough councils, police, schools, health as well as volunteers from the community.

Overall, Think Family has turned the lives around of 774 families in West Sussex so far. The scheme was also recently singled out as being the top in the country for supporting families back into work, so far helping 389 people back into employment.

Phase Two of the programme, which is due to come into effect in 2015, will see the West Sussex Think Family Partnership work with even more families to help them overcome complex problems. The Government has singled out the West Sussex Partnership to take on the role of an 'Early Starter', which means it will work with a further 600 West Sussex families before the national programme rolls out in April 2015.

Peter Evans, West Sussex County Council’s Cabinet Member for Start of Life – Children, said: “This is really great news and something we are incredibly proud of.

“We’re working with partners to change lives for the better. Our success shows that investing early to support those families who need help and support the most really does work.”

Sussex Police & Crime Commissioner, Katy Bourne, said: “It is excellent news that West Sussex Think Family Partnership is to receive more funding in order to continue their intervention work with vulnerable families and those individuals in most need.

“The Partnership deserves credit for taking up the challenge of the Government’s Troubled Families scheme and the initiative in West Sussex has shown promising results so far.

“By providing the right intervention and support this programme gives hope and opportunity to the families involved.”

WSCC to debate £535M budget on 14th Feb
Thursday, 13 February 2014 00:00

The Leader of West Sussex County Council is expected to use her budget speech to outline 10 major projects that will be delivered for the county over the next 12 months.

Louise Goldsmith will ask a meeting of Full Council to approve a £535 million budget for the authority for 2014/15 at a meeting on Valentine’s Day. The budget includes a proposal to freeze the county’s part of the council tax bill for householders for the fourth year in a row and multimillion pound investments in education, the county’s roads and adult social care.

Councillors will also consider a £55 million two year savings plan.

Louise said: “Families all over West Sussex have to balance their monthly income against their outgoings. We are no different. We have to make savings. However, for the same level of council tax as last year, we will be investing in the things that matter most to our residents — indeed, we will be investing more money than we are saving so this is not budget about cuts.”

It is widely anticipated that Louise will outline some key areas of investment that align with the Council’s priorities around giving the children the best start in life, helping the county’s elderly residents enjoy independence and good health in later life and boosting the economy at the meeting on Friday.

These areas are expected to include a £15 million pound investment in improving more rural and urban roads across the County, on top of what the County Council does every year as part of its roads maintenance programme, a £12 million investment in education in Worthing, including a new secondary school and additional school places, and a £6.25 million injection into adult’s services.

Louise said: “I’ve heard a lot of scaremongering and a lot of irresponsible talk about our savings programme and it is just plain wrong. We are in good financial shape. We will always do what’s best for our residents and we will always be there for those people who need us the most. The budget being presented to full council on February 14 marks the start of a new chapter for West Sussex County Council.”

Councillor Michael Brown, Cabinet Member for Finance, added: “It has never been more important for us to do what we can to give householders a break during these tough economic times and that is why we have made the decision to freeze council tax for the fourth year in a row.

“We have worked very hard to make savings by reshaping our organisation and making it as efficient as possible to keep council tax as low as possible. That work never stops.

“This council is committed to making sure that every penny of our hard earned residents’ money is spent wisely.

“By dint of good financial management we are able to propose a budget which maintains, or increases, the value of all front line service budgets, invests handsomely in the future, maintains adequate reserves and allows us to invest in greater efficiency to make further savings from our cost base in future years.”

Other significant investments expected to be announced at the meeting include a further £3.3 million investment in the County Council’s Think Family programme to support West Sussex’s most troubled families who need additional support to ensure that their children grow up with the best possible start in life.

The Leader is also expected to talk about making a further £1 million available to encourage communities to act against flooding as part of Operation Watershed 2014, and £1.25 million improvements to Queen’s Square in Crawley.

Businesses are also expected to be given the opportunity to bid again for grants from a second round of the Be the Business programme thanks to further funding of £500,000.

Finally, the continued rollout of high speed broadband over the next 12 months is expected to mean that 90% of householders across Sussex can access if it they want to by April 2015.


Health and Social Care Bill
Friday, 01 March 2013 00:00

Health and Social Care Bill


The Health and Social Care Bill represents the most radical decentralisation of power that the NHS has witnessed in its history. It delivers three changes - changes that could only be achieved through legislation.

First, the Bill underpins a patients’ right to choose. The Bill is needed to stop healthcare providers – whether in the public, private or voluntary sectors – from frustrating the right of patients to decide how and where they should be treated.

Second, the Bill enshrines in law that frontline staff should have the power to decide how NHS resources are spent. We need to put power in the hands of doctors and nurses, rather than a remote bureaucracy.

Third, it gives NHS organisations the freedom they once had to organise themselves as they see fit. As Conservatives, we should not stand as a barrier to them. Not least because those freedoms will allow us to dismantle the top-down bureaucracy we know frustrates the frontline.


Louise Goldsmith.

County Councillor Chichester West Division.

Leader West Sussex County Council


Helping Families
Friday, 01 March 2013 00:00

How Conservatives are Helping Families


Freezing council tax. We helped every local authority in England to freeze council tax last year and are funding another freeze this year, delivering savings to hard-working families and pensioners. The average household’s bill will be up to £72 lower this year on a Band D home than it would otherwise have been. This is on top of the £72 a year saved by families from last year’s freeze.

Cutting fuel duty. From April petrol duty will be a full 10 pence lower than it would have been without our action in the Budget and this autumn. Families will save £144 on filling up the average family car by the end of next year.

Cutting income tax for 25 million people. In April this year there will be a further increase in the personal allowance of £630, taking 260,000 more people out income tax and reducing the tax paid by 25 million people by an average of £48, without creating any more higher rate taxpayers. Together with the £1,000 rise which happened last April, that means a total of £326 extra each year. In total we have taken 1.1 million low paid people out of tax altogether.

Extending free childcare.  We have increased the entitlement to free education and care for 3- and 4-year olds to 15 hours a week. We have also extended the entitlement to the most disadvantaged 2-year-olds. By the end of the parliament, we will provide £760 million a year to ensure 260,000 disadvantaged 2-year-olds, around 40 per cent of the total, will receive 15 hours a week free education and care.

Increasing the Child Tax Credit. In April 2011 the Child Tax Credit increased by £225 – the largest increase ever. This April it will go up by 5.2 per cent, a further increase of £135.

Taking action on Energy Prices. After the Prime Minister held an energy summit in October 2011 to address concerns about rising prices, we have seen several energy companies pass on the international fall in energy prices to the consumer.

Helping with the cost of rail travel. We are investing £105 million per year to keep down the price of rail fares, helping commuters at the same time as ensuring further investment in rail network.


And our credible economic plan is keeping interest rates low – helping families, businesses and the tax payer. If interest rates went up by 1 per cent in this country, that would add £1,000 to the typical family mortgage. That is the risk that we would have with Labour’s plans for more spending, more borrowing and more debt.

Louise Goldsmith.
County Councillor Chichester West Division.
Leader West Sussex County Council

Conservative Priorities
Friday, 01 March 2013 00:00

Conservative Priorities



 Adults Services: Funding for Community Stroke Rehabilitation Team (North) for 24 months to allow for a robust evaluation and service redesign

Children and Families: Annual Review of Fostercare Rates and Adoption, Residence and Special Guardianship Allowances

Education and Schools: Expansion of St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School in Haywards Heath; Expansion of St Richard’s Catholic Primary School in Chichester; Extension of the age range of Bartons Infant and Laburnum Grove Junior Schools, the relocation of Bartons Infant School and redesignation of catchment areas for each of the schools for September 2014

Finance and Resources: Joint commissioning and procurement of Children’s Community Health Services with NHS West Sussex; Annual Review of Income Fees and Charges across the County Council

Highways and Transport: Integrated Works Programme (IWP); East Grinstead Controll Parking Zone – proposed amendment (formal advertisement) (decision to be taken by North Mid Sussex CLC).  



What LibDem Contribution?
Friday, 01 March 2013 00:00


The Lib Dem Contribution?


Council Leader Louise Goldsmith says - 'I sometimes despair about the motivation of the Lib Dems in County Hall. The County Council is having to find £79 million pounds of savings over three years, through driving out bureaucracy and very tight financial management. We have had to make some very hard spending decisions and reduce jobs. At all times we are looking to get the very best outcome for the resident for the very best price for the Council Tax payer.

It has been a huge challenge but the Council has met its target of £38 million pounds of savings in just one year, whilst still not increasing the Council tax. We know that residents are very concerned about the rising cost of living and jobs, as a direct response, and for the second year, we are not increasing the Council Tax. We have produced a budget which is good for residents and the economy of West Sussex. 

All the Libdems seem to be concerned about is Chairing a Committee, but when nominated and asked to take on the Vice Chair positions they refused. You really have to wonder what their priorities are. The Leader usually selects the Chairman, but to be more democratic Councillors were able to vote for their own Chairmen this time. The LibDems only seem to like democracy only when it favours them.?






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