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Letter: County Councillors Were Denied Information When Taking Budget Decision

Published on: 9 Feb, 2017
Updated on: 9 Feb, 2017

From Fiona White

Lib Dem county councillor for Guildford West

If the reports of what transpired between council leader David Hodge and individuals in central government are true, many Surrey councillors who took part in the budget meeting on Tuesday were denied all the information needed to make decisions. That is disgraceful.

News reports are now saying it looks as though Surrey will be able to keep more business rates in 2018/19. That will still leave Surrey residents facing cuts of £123m in revenue spending plus £22m of one-off savings in 2017/18. We were told at the meeting that £93m of the revenue cuts have been identified by service area (such as social care, highways etc), but we would have to find another £30m with no-one knowing where.

We need to bear in mind that adult social care has missed its savings targets – another phrase for “cuts” – by millions of pounds over the last 3 years at least.

We all deserve better than this. The one area in which David Hodge and I agree is that social care is a national issue and a national solution must be found. I can still only hope that Surrey’s MPs will all recognise that and put pressure on their government to find that solution quickly.

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Responses to Letter: County Councillors Were Denied Information When Taking Budget Decision

  1. Ben Paton Reply

    February 9, 2017 at 12:18 pm

    Lack of transparency in government? What a surprise.

    A shame that the Lib Dems don’t do more to demand proper disclosure. They could start by asking to see the West Surrey Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA) model – which underlies the local plans for Guildford, Waverley and Woking.

    It has never been disclosed. Worse, councillors have never asked to see it.

  2. Fiona White Reply

    February 9, 2017 at 1:04 pm

    The local plan process is done by the borough councils and not Surrey County Council. I am not longer a borough councillor and have not been involved in that process.

  3. Jim Allen Reply

    February 10, 2017 at 10:39 am

    There is only one thing worse than making a decision about money and that’s making a decision on money with a suspicion that you have not been given the full facts.

    Because then you have to ask why are you being denied those facts. While being a free thinker on politics. I find failure to be totally honest on monetary matters is a line no one should cross.

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