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Surrey's 15% council tax rise to go before councillors

3 minute read
Surrey's 15% council tax rise to go before councillors

Published at 6:00am 31st January 2017.

A proposed 15 per cent council tax rise in Surrey goes before councillors today.

They are being asked to recommend its approval, moving us a step closer to a referendum.

The council leader says the extra money is needed to meet the costs of social care.

But there is stiff opposition.

Some are angry that the increase will be added to bills before the referendum, with residents being reimbursed if the proposal is rejected.

'15% rise would cripple me' - one man's story

After today's meeting of the Cabinet, the proposed rise will go before Full Council before the referendum on May 4th.

That is also the day that Surrey holds local elections, where all county councillors in Surrey will have to contest their seats.

At the time of announcing the proposed 15 per cent rise, council leader David 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."

But opponents say the rise is unfair on tax payers, particularly as it will be added to bills before the referendum takes place.

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Councillor Hazel Watson, Leader of the Liberal Democrat councillors on Surrey County Council, said: "Liberal Democrat councillors on Surrey County Council oppose this huge increase in council tax which would be the largest increase in the country and is nine-times the rate of inflation.

"A 15 per cent increase would be unaffordable for many Surrey residents and would hit the elderly and those on fixed-incomes hardest.

"It would be quite wrong for the Tories to try and shift this funding problem onto Surrey residents."

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