Councillor Stephen Holt said: “Our recovery and stabilisation work has rightly received high praise from the government and the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy following an assurance review and I thank the many officers and fellow councillors for their tireless work in achieving that.
“To put those achievements into context, when we lost 60 per cent of our income due to Covid 19, the government allowed us to use £12.8m of borrowing to meet the financial shortfalls over two years, but the decisions we took reduced that figure by £5.2m.
“However, having navigated our way through the greatest crisis in living memory, we are now dealing with a rise of over 300 per cent in people presenting as homeless and the associated costs are simply unsustainable.
“Much of this increase is directly due to the cost of living crisis, with local families having to manage rising rents, mortgages and household bills.”
“Our neighbours in Hastings have made it clear that unmanageable increases in homelessness have left them on the brink and many more councils are also running out of road as they face mounting costs.
“I am in the process of inviting all council leaders to an emergency summit, prior to presenting a case to the government for support.
“We face stark choices at a time when the most vulnerable people in our communities are relying on us.”
Eastbourne MP Caroline Ansell said: “Eastbourne Borough Council has received £1.582 million from the government to tackle homelessness since March 2022 and it has also benefited from a £4,896,000 pot given to East Sussex County Council. These are substantial sums that recognise the problem we face.
“However, I do share the council’s concern over the loss of subsidy associated with their heavy use of emergency accommodation and will raise this with ministers on the council’s behalf.
“More widely, however, the need for new homes is clearly critical. It is sorely disappointing the council lost its funding for Bedfordwell Road because the value for money case collapsed under endless delay.
“With a scheme redesign, it could yet be salvaged. I sincerely hope so because over a million pounds of government funding has already gone into making the land safe.
“Whilst I understand that there is an outstanding challenge on short term debt to resolve, this latest financial report offers some positive feedback after years of fragility.
“I hope this means Eastbourne can release those on the very lowest income from the strain of council tax like neighbouring councils already do. Residents rightly want to see more spent on local services and heritage assets like the Bandstand too.
“But there is also a warning in the report against buying property which could impact community hopes for Meads Sports Centre and the Brighton Uni campus more widely.
“Moving forward, l will continue to work with the Minister for Local Government Lee Rowley and our council leaders to do all I can to support the council’s finances.”