Fringe Box



County Council Cabinet Recommends Expected Council Tax Hike

Published on: 26 Jan, 2022
Updated on: 27 Jan, 2022

By Julie Armstrong

local democracy reporter

The average council taxpayer in Surrey faces a £77 rise in the largest portion of their council tax in the coming year.

Surrey County Council’s Conservative cabinet yesterday (January 25) recommended a 4.99 per cent hike for the year beginning April 2022, meaning a band D household will have to pay £1,626 for the year.

This is without adding on the cost of what the districts or boroughs, parishes and police charge.

The county council says the increase is made up of 0.99 per cent for the increased cost of delivering services, due to inflation and the living wage, 1 per cent for mental health prevention and early intervention and 3 per cent for adult social care.

Cllr Paul Kennedy

Mole Valley district councillor Paul Kennedy (Lib Dem, Fetcham West) said: “That’s really going to hurt people, it’s going to be tough.”

He said Mole Valley residents are already facing a £680 increase in their energy bills from April. The Liberal Democrats have forecast a national average uplift in bills of £598 a year for each household.

Nearly 80p out of every £1 the council spends comes from council tax, and Cllr Kennedy said Surrey’s Conservative MPs should have pushed for a larger settlement from the government.

The authority is expected to get £18.8 million from central government – but spends a budget of over £1 billion.

“We collect lots of business rates and they send them up North and to London. It would be nice if our MPs sat up occasionally and said, this isn’t right,” he said.

“It’s very convenient for Surrey County Council (SCC) that they don’t have an election this year. I warned last year they were deferring an increase.”

This year’s rise is the full amount permitted by government and in addition, SCC is carrying over 2 per cent of the adult social care precept it did not use last year, out of a possible 2.5 per cent that it could roll over.

Cllr Paul Follows

At the time, Waverley borough councillor Paul Follows (LD, Godalming Central and Ockford) said: “Arguably pushing the reality of the financial problems they face into next year – you might think it was Surrey County Council elections this year.”

Surrey council leader Tim Oliver yesterday told the Local Democracy Reporting Service: “We only took half a per cent last year because we couldn’t justify it; we didn’t need more last year because we had significant one-off funds from the government through Covid.

“Actually we lost 14 seats last year, so I don’t think anybody can say that by keeping it at 2.5% that won us any seats.”

Cllr Tim Oliver

In the cabinet meeting he said: “Four per cent of this 4.99 per cent increase is all about delivering care to vulnerable residents; this is not about paying for back-office costs.

“We are determined to do right by all generations to provide dignity and a better quality of life.

“The rise in the adult social care precept is unavoidable if we want to deliver this ambition and look after residents most in need.”

He said the average cost of the council looking after an older person had increased by 13 per cent compared to before the pandemic.

Cllr Fiona Davidson

Fiona Davidson (R4GV, Guildford South East) commented today: “Around 50 per cent (£500m) of SCC’s budget is spent on adult social care. Although the significant increase in council tax will have a huge impact on the least well off Surrey residents, the additional revenue generated of around £24 million will be a drop in the ocean. Care costs are rising at around 13 per cent, so the additional revenue won’t even cover rising costs.

SCC cannot raise the funds it needs for adult social care through the council tax. Councils desperately need government support. Sadly, Surrey’s cost-cutting on respite care and the closure of day centres will also impact the most disadvantaged.

A full meeting of the county council is to make a decision on the council tax and budget on February 8.

See also: County Council Must Find £20 million to Balance Next Year’s Budget

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Responses to County Council Cabinet Recommends Expected Council Tax Hike

  1. George Potter Reply

    January 27, 2022 at 1:20 pm

    Don’t forget, come April all of us of working age will see our National Insurance go up as part of the government’s plan to “pay for social care”.

    So how come not a penny of that money is actually going to go to the county councils responsible for providing that social care?

    We’re going to see our take-home pay cut thanks to the National Insurance hike, and then we’re going to have our council tax hiked by the county council to actually pay for social care.

    Why are we having to pay twice for the same thing?

    George Potter is a Lib Dem county and borough councillor

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