Will Forster

Campaigning to be the Lib Dem MP for Woking, Deputy Leader of Woking Borough Council and Councillor in South Woking Learn more

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Surrey Tories’ ‘power grab’ fails

by willforster on 3 February, 2022

Surrey County Council’s hopes of getting more powers from central government as part of a County Deal lie in ruins following the publication of the Government’s Levelling Up White Paper.

Yesterday, the Government has unveiled their plans which include the promotion of regional mayors and give several areas County Deals – however Surrey was not one of them.

The Lib Dems and I had previously called Surrey’s County Deal bid a ‘power grab’ and a way for it to become a unitary authority by the back door. The Council’s bid included significant new powers for the authority to introduce five new taxes and create a ‘Surrey Spatial Plan’ of yet more centrally imposed arbitrary housing targets, riding roughshod over the needs and wishes of local communities.

It is clearly deeply embarrassing for the Conservatives running Surrey County Council that their ‘power grab’ has failed. Despite the fact they are meant to have the ear of Ministers, the Surrey Tories were ignored by the Government.

Although I am pleased Surrey is not getting the County Deal proposed by the County Council, I do worry this issue has shown that Surrey is taken for granted by both the Conservatives and the Government. At the last General Election, Surrey elected 11 Tory MPs, two of which are in the Cabinet and yet local people have nothing to show for it.

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