EHDC responds to Hampshire County Council proposals to cut back services

News background

Proposals include reducing tips, road repairs and community support

Cutting services to save money would cost the taxpayer more in the long run – that's the response of East Hampshire District Council to a public consultation on Hampshire County Council plans to reduce its services to save funds. 

Hampshire County Council is running a consultation on the future of its services as it seeks to bridge an expected £132 million deficit in 2025. 

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It proposes reductions to a range of services including the option to remove some of East Hampshire’s tips, fewer road repairs and limiting some social support, such as grants, homelessness services and transport. 

Our response to the consultation acknowledges the difficult financial position Hampshire County Council is in. Public sector finances are currently under extreme pressure following a decade of drops in national government funding. 

However, we are concerned that cutting back on important support services will have a knock-on effect on other care services. 

Plans to cut back Adult Care Social Grants, Homelessness Support Services and public transport may save HCC money in the short term but in the long run will create a greater burden on the care system, costing the public purse more. 

Organisations that provide care will experience a greater demand on their services, and that includes the NHS, Hampshire County Council themselves and East Hampshire District Council. 

Plans to cut back community transport will have a serious impact on East Hampshire due to the rural nature of the district. Further isolating those without access to a car will increase loneliness and ultimately lead to poorer mental health. The consequence of that will be more people coming into social care earlier and more often. 

We believe that resilient communities and a vibrant voluntary sector are key to preventing poor health outcomes. The proposed cuts will result in weaker voluntary and community sectors with fewer organisations supporting our residents close to home. 

This will damage the communities they serve, erode the support networks that keep people healthy, happy and in their homes and ultimately lead to more people relying on expensive social care. 

Read EHDC's response in full

Cllr Richard Millard, EHDC Leader, said: “We fully appreciate the incredibly difficult financial situation that Hampshire County Council finds itself in and understand the need to save as much money as possible. 

“However, we question whether cutting important social support services is the right way to do it. Our response to their consultation outlines the detrimental effects these cuts could have, not just on other services provided by local voluntary groups and other authorities, such as ourselves, but also on the long-term demand on their own services. 

“Very often the most cost-effective way to manage social issues is as early as possible and as close to the source as possible. By reducing those support services now HCC may be increasing demand on its service further down the line.  

“We have also raised concerns about the potential loss of the Household Waste Recycling Centres in Petersfield and Whitehill & Bordon. Our local tips are vital facilities and removing them would make life harder for so many local residents. Their loss could also increase the risk of fly-tipping around the district which would not only bring with it the associated pollution and mess it creates, but also the financial burden of clearance and disposal, making it another long-term burden on the tax payer.”  

Cllr Andy Tree, EHDC Deputy Leader, said: “We are very worried about how these potential HCC cuts could affect our residents and we are committed to trying to limit the impact it has on this district.  

"The loss of important, front-line services will only push more people into expensive social care, so local authorities, such as East Hampshire District Council and Hampshire County Council themselves, will end up paying more. 

“We are also concerned about the possible closure of Petersfield and Bordon tips, especially as we want to see recycling increased. I urge all East Hampshire residents to respond to the consultation to ensure our voice is heard.” 

The consultation runs until midnight on Sunday 31 March.