David Hodge, Leader of Surrey County Council, announces proposal to seek a council tax rise of 15%
Monday, 23 January 2017 13:26
Taken from Get Surry and the Surrey County Council Website
David Hodge, Leader of Surrey County Council, has announced a proposal to seek a council tax rise of 15%.
He said: “We have to set a budget that will protect vital services for Surrey residents.
“Government has cut our annual grant by £170m since 2010 – leaving a huge gap in our budget.
“Demand for adults social care, learning disabilities and children’s services is increasing every year.
“So I regret, despite us finding £450m worth of savings from our annual budget, we have no choice but to
propose this increase in council tax.” The proposed increase would see Band D council tax residents paying an
extra £190 a year.
"The reason we have made this difficult decision is to protect vital services for Surrey residents," said the
Conservative leader. "Our government has cut our annual grant by £170m since 2010. "That has left a huge
gap in our budget. "The demand for adult social care, learning disabilities has increased over the years.
"We have had no choice but to propose this as services have been brought to breaking point."
The 2016/17 council tax figure for a band D property is £1,268,28. A 15% increase would push this figure up by
£190.24 a year. Under current rules the local authority can only increase the charge by an extra 4.99% a year
without a referendum. Some residents have demanded councillors to take allowance cuts as a gesture to the
public following the announcement. Cllr Hodge responded: "The gap we're facing won't be made up by cutting
a small measure of senior allowances.” The council tax hike has also been slammed by opposition parties.
Councillor Hazel Watson, leader of the Liberal Democrat group, said: “It is astonishing that the Conservative
administration think Surrey residents should carry the can for their own financial failings and the government’s
failure to properly fund services. "The crisis in the funding of adult social care needs a long-term solution from
national government not a temporary sticking plaster, which is what a large council tax rise would offer.”
When Cllr Hodge was asked by Get Surrey what he thought of this and if he thinks the hike will affect the
Tories' chances at the next election, he said: "I think the thing is to bear in mind is that we have saved £450m
from our annual budget and we are going to continue to make savings.
"We need £24 million for adult social care.
"The government agrees our figures are correct, the treasury agree our figures are also correct in the situation.
"It was a really difficult decision for us, but we had no choice.
"We have to protect the services."