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  1. Video content

    Video caption: Viktor Gyokeres: 'We'd like to do a deal for him' - Swans boss Cooper

    Head Coach Steve Cooper says Brighton striker Viktor Gyokeres is a player Swansea City would like to sign, but he is unsure if they will be able to reach a deal.

  2. Video content

    Video caption: Seal of approval: Gavin the celebrity seal makes a splash

    A Sussex seal's habit of hitching a ride with passing paddleboarders is making him a local celebrity.

  3. Covid hit businesses given financial lifeline

    Karen Dunn

    Local Democracy Reporter

    Mid Sussex District Council is planing to throw local businesses a £300,000 lifeline to help them recover from the financial impact of Covid-19.

    During a meeting of the full council Stephen Hillier, cabinet member for economic growth, said the money would be added to the grants budget to help businesses and the local community.

    Mr Hillier was responding to a question from a member of the public, who spoke about the "economic devastation" caused to the events industry during the pandemic.

    He was told that businesses and freelancers in that sector had not been able to work since March and were not included in any of the government’s emergency aid grants.

    Mr Hillier told the meeting the council had given £26.4m from the small businesses and hospitality grants fund to 2,062 firms, with the entire £1.463m discretionary grant going to 187 local businesses.

    But, with those grants aimed at firms who pay business rates, many small, home-based events companies and freelancers have not received a penny.

    A report to the meeting said the criteria for the grants was still to be developed.

  4. Hastings Academy partially closed for two weeks

    Sue Nicholson

    BBC News

    The Hastings Academy has been closed to all year groups, except for children of critical workers and vulnerable pupils, for two weeks due to a number of staff self-isolating because of Covid-19.

    A spokesperson for the University of Brighton Academies Trust, which runs the secondary school, said it would remain partially closed until Wednesday 14 October.

    A statement said: "Our students' health and education remain our top priority, so during this partial closure the academy will continue to provide wellbeing support and remote learning to all our students."

    It added that the decision had not been taken lightly.

    The trust confirmed last week that a positive case of Covid-19 had been recorded at the academy

  5. Lib Dem councillor quits to sit as Independent

    Karen Dunn

    Local Democracy Reporter

    Emily Seex

    A councillor on Arun District Council has announced she is to quit the Liberal Democrats to sit as an Independent, saying: "We need to put aside party politics and work together in the interest of our residents.”

    Emily Seex, who was elected in 2019 and represents the River Ward, said the council needed to rethink its priorities, putting regeneration, jobs and making sure people have a roof over their heads first

    Ms Seex, who is chairman of the Littlehampton Regeneration sub-committee, has called on the council to take a firmer stance on getting things done – even if that meant borrowing money.

    She said: “We need to focus the council’s resources on meaningful regeneration – regeneration that creates jobs and brings wealth to support businesses.

    “In order to invest in regeneration we need to be open to borrowing money for building new facilities, to achieve long-term improvement in our residents’ economic prospects."

    Announcing her decision to jump ship and become independent, she added: “In order to be part of the solution to the politics, I have left the Arun Liberal Democrat group and would urge all my colleagues, of every political persuasion, to support a programme of regeneration."

    Ms Seex’s decision means the council is now made up of 21 Conservatives, 18 Liberal Democrats, a total of 11 Independents, two Greens and one Labour councillor.

  6. Coronavirus: Council warns of 'difficult choices' to balance books

    Karen Dunn

    Local Democracy Reporter

    The next few years will see Crawley Borough Council facing some "very difficult choices" as it tries to drag itself out of the financial hole caused by Covid-19.

    Council leader Peter Lamb told members during a virtual meeting that the first quarter of the financial year had brought a £1.2m deficit, with more bad news to follow.

    Crawley Borough Council leader Peter Lamb

    He said: “We need to be clear, this is not going to be the end of it.

    “Certainly there will be further deficits in subsequent quarters, particularly if we’re required to go back into lockdown, which would drastically affect our income.”

    So far this year, the council has lost £343,000 of income from its car parks, £1.29m from sports and recreation and £227,000 of culture-related income, including the town’s community centres.

    Mr Lamb told the committee "much, much harsher problems" could be round the corner as both Parkwood Theatres and Freedom Leisure, who run the Hawth Theatre and K2 leisure centre respectively, were working to claim compensation for having to close the facilities.

    On top of that, the economic impact on both the town and Gatwick Airport meant more and more people would see their income fall to such a level that they would be able to claim council tax benefit.

    Mr Lamb said: “We are going to have some very, very difficult choices to take."

  7. Council promises no more cuts

    Huw Oxburgh

    Local Democracy Reporter

    County Hall

    East Sussex County Council says it will not be looking to make any new cuts next year, as the authority begins its annual budget-setting process.

    According to papers to be considered by the county council’s cabinet on Friday, the authority says it has no plans to identify further savings in 2021/22 "due to the considerable level of national funding uncertainty and the ever-changing requirements to meet the response to Covid-19".

    While it may not be looking at any new savings, the council says savings already in the pipeline from previous budgets will take it down to its core offer – described as its minimum reasonable service – within the next three years.

    In a recent newsletter, council leader Keith Glazier said it was "not the time" for further service cuts.

    He said: “Every home and every business in East Sussex has been hit by Covid-19 – often severely.

    “That’s why many people are relying more than ever on public services like care for the elderly and vulnerable, support for businesses or help with education.

    “Knowing this, I’m pleased to say that my intention is for East Sussex County Council to keep its core offer to residents unchanged in our next budget."

  8. Campaign for cheaper school uniforms

    Sarah Booker-Lewis

    Local Democracy Reporter

    Hundreds of parents have signed a petition calling for cheaper school uniforms.

    The petition was started by former Brighton and Hove City councillor Emma Daniel to try to reduce the number higher-cost branded items parents are expected to buy for secondary school students.

    Ms Daniel started the petition after her daughter’s secondary school introduced a new £30 branded skirt, in addition to branded polo shirts, jumpers and PE kit.

    When she spoke with community groups, she found that uniform was more of a cost issue then coats.

    One parent, whose children attend one of the city’s academies, spent £300 kitting out two boys.

    Ms Daniel said families were borrowing money to pay for uniforms and found it humiliating that they were asked to approach the head teacher for help.

    “Kids are losing out on other things they need in order to pay for uniforms and that is not right."

    If more than 1,250 people sign it, the petition will be eligible for debate at a meeting of the full council on 22 October.