Fringe Box



A Kingston View: SCC Must Have the Funding Required for Essential Services

Published on: 12 Apr, 2017
Updated on: 15 Apr, 2017

What happens in our county council, in County Hall at Kingston, has a direct impact on us just as much as decisions taken in the borough council, as the recent stories about a possible 15% rise in council tax show.

Two of Guildford’s county councillors Keith Witham (Con, Worplesdon) and Fiona White (Lib Dem, Guildford West) alternate fortnightly in giving their views.

In this article Cllr White looks forward to what will need to be done after the forthcoming county council election…

By Fiona White

In less than a month’s time we will know who the new Surrey councillors will be and whatever the political makeup of the new council, those elected will face some major decisions.

Cllr Fiona White.

It is clear that the government is pursuing a campaign of reducing funding to councils while still putting more responsibilities for providing services. That is why I am concerned at the council leader’s decision to start the process of Surrey leaving the Local Government Association (LGA).

While the LGA could be improved, it does provide a forum for local authorities to work together and argue their case, especially on such issues as funding for care services, education and road maintenance. It has always been easier to pick individuals off, one at a time, than to face down a united body.

Of course, there is the issue of the contribution Surrey pays to the LGA but a strong negotiating body could make that a worthwhile investment.

Once these council elections are completed, I hope the government will rethink its policies on local government funding. As I have said before, it is time for them to recognise that social care and health are indivisible and must be funded nationally to make sure that people in need of health and care packages get them seamlessly without long waits, often resulting in delayed discharges from hospital.

The government must make sure that councils have the funding they need to be able to provide services across the board.

Also, I hope that the new council will recognise that “open and transparent” means sharing information with all councillors and with the taxpayers of Surrey who pay for it all. Hiding information and only revealing it at the last minute is unacceptable in this day and age.

Fiona White is a candidate in the forthcoming Surrey County elections. A full list of Guildford division candidates can be found here. On the resulting GBC webpage please open the pdf document, Statement of Persons Nominated.

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Responses to A Kingston View: SCC Must Have the Funding Required for Essential Services

  1. Jeff Hills Reply

    April 18, 2017 at 4:30 pm

    If Surrey County Council relocated and sold off County Hall, which is not even in Surrey, it would certainly save a lot of money which could be re-allocated.

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