Lesley Bushnell and the Lib Dem Focus Team

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by lesleybushnell on 5 March, 2018

Liberal Democrats on Surrey County Council have criticised the Conservative-administration for budget proposals containing £54m of further cuts to services and a 5.99% council tax rise. The budget was approved by the Council’s Conservative Cabinet on Tuesday 30th January, and then by the County Council on Tuesday 6th February.

These extra budget cuts included:

  • £25 million from children’s support services
  • £19 million from adult social care
  • £1.3 million from environmental services including recycling; this is additional to £49 million already slashed over the past 8 years
  • £1.6 million from cultural services like arts and libraries


Cllr Hazel Watson, Leader of the Liberal Democrats on Surrey County Council, said:

“This budget contains drastic cuts to services such as libraries, road maintenance, services for children and families as well as cuts to support for people with learning disabilities. They come on top of the unpopular cuts which have already been made to services including highways, community recycling centres and support to vulnerable people.
“Although I am pleased that the Conservative-administration, unlike last year, has not tried to raise council tax by 15%, they are proposing a 6% rise as this is the maximum increase possible without triggering a referendum. This is still unaffordable for many Surrey residents, particularly for those on fixed incomes.”
Hazel Watson on Sky News

It is a failure by central government to provide adequate funding to the County Council and a failure of the Conservative-administration to get to grips with the financial problems at County Hall. Council documents have shown there is a £105 million funding gap. This is the highest of any County Council in the country.

“Surrey has one of the worst financial outlooks of any area of the country, research by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism reveals. Council documents warn of a £105 million funding gap — the difference between the funding it expects to receive in the next financial year and the money it needs to spend. It is the largest deficit reported by any of the 150 English local authorities whose finances have been analysed by the bureau. The average is £14.7 million. When calculated as a percentage of its budget for the coming financial year, Surrey’s funding gap is 12.8 per cent, the ninth highest in the country. The average is 6.9 per cent.”  
The Times 8th Feb 2018


And in Capel Leigh and Newdigate we are being let down by the Conservative administration at three levels.

The Conservative central government is not providing the funding for the local services we need
The Conservative administration at County level is very badly managing the budget we do have and having to cut important primary services
The Conservative-led District Council is putting up Council tax and increasing parking charges



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