Laura Sharman 19 January 2017

Council to hold referendum over 15% council tax increase

Surrey County Council is to hold a referendum on increasing council tax by 15% in order to ‘protect vital services’.

Council leader, David Hodge, warned government cuts had left the council with a ‘huge’ gap in its budget.

‘Government has cut our annual grant by £170m since 2010 – leaving a huge gap in our budget,’ he said.

’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.’

Simon Bottery, director of policy at Independent Age, said the announcement shows how much funding councils need to meet the rising cost of adult social care.

He said: ‘It highlights the extent to which the cost of adequate personal care for frail and elderly people is becoming dependent on council tax payers. Relying ever more heavily on funds raised from council tax to cover what we know will be growing costs for social care just won't prove sustainable.

‘This demonstrates why we need the Prime Minister to urgently begin cross-party talks to put in place a long-term solution on health and care funding so that millions of older people can access the services they need now and in the future.’

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