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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Lib Dems say Surrey County Council’s budget fails residents

by willforster on 8 February, 2022

The Lib Dems and have slammed the Conservatives running Surrey County Council’s budget as one that fails residents by making them ‘pay twice’ for social care reforms whilst mismanagement sees money wasted, services cut and £200 million held in reserve.

People in Surrey will now be faced with ‘paying twice’ for social care reforms thanks to a combination of a 4.99% increase in the County Council’s share of council tax and a 1.25 percentage points rise in National Insurance.

The change to National Insurance, which breaks the Tories’ manifesto promise not to raise taxes, will mean hard-pressed local families and small businesses will be left paying hundreds of pounds more in tax each year.  Surrey County Council’s tax increase will add to the cost-of-living burdens faced by local residents.

Despite claiming to be raising taxes to invest in social care, the County Council’s budget includes cuts of over £43 million to its adult social care department alone over the next three years and a recent public consultation highlighted the possible closure of 8 Council run care homes.

My Lib Dem colleagues and I also criticised the Conservatives for spending over £28 million on agency staff, employing 1,666 people who earn over £50,000 and prioritising spending on press officers over frontline workers.

It is hugely disappointing that Surrey County Council has set a budget that fails local people.  With the country in the grip of a cost-of-living crisis, Surrey residents will feel the pain of this Council Tax increase coupled with the upcoming hike in National Insurance and soaring energy and other bills.  The Council should not be piling further pressure onto household budgets with such a large council tax rise when it has £200 million in the bank.

The Council’s decision to make cuts of £43 million in social care and almost £8 million in children’s social services is an absolutely heartless decision from a Tory administration that pretends to want ‘No One Left Behind’.  Instead, the Conservatives are putting at risk, those critical services that support our most vulnerable residents.  The Lib Dems and I believe that money must be allocated to safeguard these services.

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