Looking Back

1994. Playscheme at Ditchling Primary allows children to enjoy the equipment provided by Lewes district council
1994. Playscheme at Ditchling Primary allows children to enjoy the equipment provided by Lewes district council

January 1981. MORE OUT OF WORK.

For some the festive season is far from festive as 1980 draws to a close and the number of jobless people increases.

Mr Peter Barrett, manager of the Haywards Heath Job Centre, painted a gloomy picture last week. “We finish the year. “ he said, “with the number of unemployed continuing to rise, our stock of vacancies low and rate of vacancy notification low also.”

Good news is that both offices have had an “excellent year as far as placing people in employment is concerned” he said.

But there is a continuing need for employers to let Job Centres have all their vacancies to help them place the “many good unemployed people registered”.

Figures underline the urgency of the situation. In Haywards Heath, December 1979 saw 292 unemployed and 168 vacancies held. This December there are 456 unemployed and only 68 job vacancies.

The Burgess Hill situation is equally bleak. In December 1979 there were 313 unemployed and 194 vacancies held. This December there were 553 unemployed and only 76 going.

In the whole of the South East the position worsens every week. Latest figures from the Department of Employment show that since November 13, an extra 18, 079 people have lost their jobs. Sussex alone has 31,000 people jobless.

A GLOOMY MESSAGE AS CUTS THREAT GROWS. Big cuts in West Sussex County Council Services now seem almost inevitable, with fewer teachers, fewer social workers, reductions in street cleaning and fewer books in libraries. This was the message from a meeting of the county Policy and Resources Committee, when councillors debated the Government’s new rate support grant settlement.

In the past few months, all spending committees have been spelling out how they would cut their budgets by two and a half per cent, while hoping they might never have to do so. Now it looks as if the cuts will have to be made, and they may have to be even higher.

County Treasurer Mr Brian Fieldhouse said this year’s grant for West Sussex was 39 per cent. Next year it was to be 36.6 per cent of expenditure.

“This was to be the brave new world, but it is not as brave as we thought it might be”, he continued. Publicity put out by metropolitan councils, claiming that shire counties like West Sussex were much better off was “very damaging” said Mr Fieldhouse. “We don’t see any cause for celebration.”

He added that the counties’ share of grant went up in proportion, but it came from a smaller pool. The Environment Secretary had said that planned expenditure next year was supposed to be three per cent below this year’s. For West Sussex, this would mean a £6.3 million cut.