Category Archives: SUSY News

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Additional Covid relief funding available

Businesses in Crawley that were previously ineligible for COVID-19 financial support can now apply for reduced business rates.

The Borough Council has been provided with additional funding by the government to help businesses apply for reduced business rates for the current financial year.

To be eligible, businesses must be a ratepayer, liable and occupying the property for business rates as at 1 April 2021.

You can apply through the Grant approval website.

Drug-drink driver given jail sentence.

A man from Haywards Heath has been jailed for three years after causing life threatening injuries to his passenger in a car crash.

David Head had consumed wine and cocaine before he got behind the wheel of his car back in August 2020.

 Dash cam footage shows him driving at 75mph on a 30mph road in Crawley.

The 42 year old was sentenced to 2 years and 7 months behind bars and has a 3 year driving ban.

West Sussex firefighters travel across Europe to donate equipment

Three Fire engines have successfully been delivered to firefighters in North Macedonia. 

The journey saw six firefighters from West Sussex travel over 1,600 miles through France, Italy and Albania before reaching their destination.

The donation was part of Operation Florian, a humanitarian charity that has been working in Macedonia since 2007.

As well as delivering equipment, familiarisation training was also given.

Potential water shortages in South-East

The south east of England faces water shortages in coming decades without billions being invested in infrastructure, water firms have warned.

Water Resources South East (WRSE), made up of the region’s six water companies, said its draft plan would help maintain supply. This includes spending £5bn on reducing leakage, as well as developing three new reservoirs to improve storage. It said climate change was having a “profound impact” on water provision.

The plan sets out action the companies said was needed to avoid a potential shortfall of one billion litres a day – about 20% of the water supplied in the region – in the next 15 years. It said this could rise to a 2.6 billion litre shortfall by 2060.

WRSE said a long-term programme of investment of about £8bn would be required, and that this could rise to £17bn by 2060, with long-term pressures caused by climate change and population growth.
The key points in the draft plan include:

  • Water companies investing about £5bn to reduce leakage
  • Encouraging the government to “act to reduce water across society”
  • The development of three new reservoirs in the region
  • Schemes that will enhance the treatment of wastewater so it can be used again
  • More than 200 nature-based schemes to improve the region’s rivers and streams
  •  
    It added that after 2040 it may also be necessary to move water from different part of the country, build more reservoirs and invest in further water recycling and desalination schemes.

    Chris Murray, independent chair of WRSE, warned a serious drought would have “far-reaching consequences” on the environment, economy and society.
    “The south east faces the most severe pressure on its water supplies of any region of the country,” he added.
    “It is warmer, more densely populated and is the home of more of the iconic chalk streams that we are seeking to preserve than any other part of the country.”

    The water companies involved are Thames Water, Southern Water, South East Water, SES Water, Portsmouth Water and Affinity Water.

    WRSE has opened a consultation on the plan.

    If you have news for Sussex and Surrey, contact us on [email protected]

    Mental health referrals rise in Surrey

    Surrey County Council is proposing a new focus and funding boost to tackle an impending mental health crisis.

    It says it is in response to the COVID pandemic having served to intensify the existing pressures on mental health services and making it harder for people to get the support they need.

    As part of the county’s No One Left Behind agenda, the County Council is announcing a plan for an extra £8m of focused investment in mental health services in Surrey. This is part of £46.5m allocated to improving mental health in the Council’s proposed 2022/23 budget. The money will deliver faster and better care for those needing help, extra support for young people and more prevention and early intervention to stop people reaching crisis point.

    Tim Oliver, Surrey County Council leader, said: “The issue of mental health is a ticking time bomb and we need to sort it out as soon as possible.

    “The pandemic has created profound challenges for so many of our residents in particular for our young people over the past year. Across the board we’ve seen trends of increasing levels of depression, self-harm, anxiety, eating disorders and other mental health issues in teens. Residents have consistently said that mental health is one of their top concerns. This is an impending crisis, and it is vital we recognise that and invest now, rather than wait for pressures to get worse.”

    The additional funding further helps Surrey’s work on combating mental health issues, including;

    • More mental health counsellors
    • Extra help in schools to improve young people’s mental health
    • More practitioners to aid people’s recovery
    • Grants to mental health charities
    • Investment in suicide prevention
    • More practical advice for residents to enjoy better mental health
    • Increase in early support like talking therapy
    • More mental health hospital beds for people in crisis
    • Specialist accommodation for people in recovery

    Following the second COVID lockdown in 2021, there were increases of up to 89% in referrals through the Council’s Children’s Single Point of Access (C-SPA) and a 66% increase in demand for children’s eating disorder services. In terms of adults at the same time, there was a 45% rise in referrals to Home Treatment Teams, Psychiatric Liaison and intensive support teams. Referrals and pressures have remained high ever since.

    Surrey County Council and partners have carried out a widescale review into mental health provision and identified where improvements can be made. It says today’s announcement will help provide the investment to deliver those improvements.

    The additional planned investment will be specifically ring-fenced and delivered from a proportion of Council Tax, from April this year.

    Further additional funding is to be directed towards addressing increased pressures on Adult Social Care, which have also been exacerbated by the impact of COVID.

    The total Council Tax increase proposed is 4.99% and is made up of:

    • 0.99% increase to fund the increased cost of delivering services
    • 3% increase to fund additional spend in adult and children’s social care
    • 1% increase to fund additional investment in mental health.

    If you have news for Sussex and Surrey, contact us on [email protected]