AS Hampshire County Council prepares to make £80million worth of savings it will “always put children’s services and adult social care services first”, a councillor has reassured.

Hampshire County Council (HHC) has been running public consultations over the budget and county councillor Edward Heron told Fordingbridge Town Council last week that responses were now being considered.

He said HCC had to take another £80million out of its annual budget for 2021/2022, adding: “We are now at the point of choosing the least worst options. It is challenging, we know it’s challenging.”

Cllr Heron told the meeting that HCC was recently judged outstanding for its adult social care services, which he said was even after all the changes it has made.

He said the chancellor had announced more money for adult social care and the government has said it would look at funding.

Cllr Heron said: “Hampshire County Council is a well run authority. They are probably one of the best run and one of the most financially stable. With the projected growth in children’s services and adult social care we will be one of the last falling off the edge of a cliff but we are on a journey off an edge of a cliff.

“Others have got there already and are being held on by a bit of string but we do need in the next couple of years to see changes in how adult social care in particular is funded, otherwise however well-run we will be we will fall off that cliff. And in getting there we will stop doing all the things that we would want to do.”

“We are doing the best that we can but as we come forward with those difficult decisions please remember they are in the context that we will always put children’s services and adult social care first,” he added.

Recommendations will go to the cabinet in October, before a final decision in November by the full county council.

Some proposals may be subject to further consultation if they are not agreed by the cabinet or full council.