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Surrey to fund social care deficit by raising council tax by 15%


20 January 2017

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Surrey council has announced plans to raise council tax by 15% in order to fund social care and children’s services in the area.

David Hodge, the Conservative council leader, said the Government had cut the local authority’s annual funding by £170m since 2010, leading the council to hold a county-wide referendum on raising council tax to fill the gap.

Surrey council has announced plans to raise council tax by 15% in order to fund social care and children’s services in the area.

David Hodge, the Conservative council leader, said the Government had cut the local authority’s annual funding by £170m since 2010, leading the council to hold a county-wide referendum on raising council tax to fill the gap.

Hodge 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.”

Councils have been required to hold referendums if they want to increase council tax over the cap set by central government since 2012.

Only one other area, Bedfordshire, has held a referendum to raise council tax, when they proposed a 15.8% hike in 2015. The result saw 69% of residents reject the proposal.

Norman Lamb, the Lib Dem spokesperson on health, said the referendum was a “smokescreen” for social care cuts.

He said: “When Conservative ministers are being told by their own council leaders that vital services are struggling to cope with funding cuts, it would be extraordinary for them not to take notice.

“This referendum could be avoided if the government agreed to work with other parties to come up with a sustainable funding solution for the NHS and care services.”

Both Philip Hammond, the chancellor, and Jeremy Hunt, the health secretary, are MPs in Surrey county.

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