Will Forster

Mayor of Woking and Lib Dem County Councillor for Woking South Learn more

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Conservative civil war on BBC Surrey

by willforster on 15 February, 2018

The former Conservative Leader of Surrey County Council, Andrew Povey, yesterday went on BBC Surrey Radio and attacked David Hodge, current Tory Leader of the Council.  You can listen to the radio interview, starting at 2:07:35, here.

I am pleased that Councillor Povey agrees with what the Lib Dems and I have been saying about the County Council’s finances over the last 18 months.  He is right to draw attention to the criticisms of the Council contained within CIPFA’s report “Financial Resilience Review – Surrey County Council”.  This report was commissioned by the current Leader of the Council and was kept hidden from Councillors for months.

He is correct in his judgement of the folly of the Leader of the Council in pursuing a doomed policy of a 15% Council Tax rise which was subsequently abandoned.  The CIPFA report clearly stated that such a referendum was unwinnable but the Leader of the Council refused to act on their advice.

Instead of just blaming the Government for lack of funding and backing an unwinnable referendum, the Conservative administration should have been working on identifying sensible efficiencies and a realistic level of deliverable savings without cutting services.  It should also have acted much earlier on the many empty buildings it owns across the county, which have cost the taxpayer hundreds of thousands of pounds each year to maintain.

Surrey Council is in a poor financial position with no clear plan to improve the situation.  Unless a solution is found, then we only have to look to Northamptonshire County Council to see the consequences of when the money eventually runs out.

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