‘Avoid unnecessary austerity’ warns Chichester bishop

The bishop of Chichester the Rt Revd Martin Warner.
The bishop of Chichester the Rt Revd Martin Warner.

THE BISHOPS of Chichester and Horsham have joined together to urge the county council to reconsider cuts.

The council is set to discuss the budget at a full council meeting this morning (February 14).

A statement from Dr Martin Warner, Bishop of Chichester and Mark Sowerby Bishop of Horsham, said: “Today, West Sussex County Council will debate their 2014/15 budget.

“This budget includes plans to reduce spending by £55m over the next two years, with prospects of further large reductions in the following years. “Already, over the past three years, the council has reduced spending by approximately £80m, including cuts to vital social care. Simultaneously, they have built up reserves by approximately £50m.

“We urge all members of the council to consider carefully any proposal to reduce spending on social care further.

“We especially urge them to consider whether it is right to maintain or increase large reserves of public money at a time of financial stringency for many.

“The recent establishment of food banks even in some of our prosperous areas exemplifies the pressures under which people in our communities are labouring, and we are concerned about the effects of past cuts on already vulnerable individuals and families.

“Whilst fiscal prudence is important, those who have the responsibility of public funds should avoid unnecessary austerity when many of their constituents are experiencing material need.”