Fringe Box



Letter: If We Vote Against A Council Tax Increase We Could Face More Service Cuts

Published on: 20 Jan, 2017
Updated on: 20 Jan, 2017

From C Williams

I think the reader suggestions [see comments under: Surrey Seeks 15% Rise In Council Tax – Lib Dems Hit Out At Proposal] of solutions to the Council Tax shortfall issue are tantamount to using a sticking plaster to stop a gushing hemorrhage: they vastly under estimate the scale of the problem.

Look at the figures in the article: Surrey have saved £450million from their budget in recent years and the government grant has been cut by £170 million. The council now shares its back office services with East Sussex to save costs.

However, the rising demand and cost of social care is a national problem that seems particularly acute in Surrey. Many county councils are starting to buckle under the financial pressure.

This could have very severe consequences for other services that Surrey County Council (SCC) provides as they look to reallocate money from other departments into social care. You only need to read other articles on The Dragon about street lights and Surrey Wildlife Trust to see that it is already happening.

What confuses me, is the government seems intent on pouring money into the NHS whilst at the same time cutting the budgets of the services that could make a real difference in reducing NHS admissions and bed blocking.

In my opinion there needs to be a whole scale review of health and social care funding as has been recommended for many years but which successive governments have failed to address.

In the meantime, whilst I don’t like the idea of paying an increased tax, I fear if we don’t vote for the increase in the referendum we will loose many other services.

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Responses to Letter: If We Vote Against A Council Tax Increase We Could Face More Service Cuts

  1. Bernard Parke Reply

    January 21, 2017 at 7:24 am

    This threat has come about by the previous chancellor cutting the revenue support grant and so putting more on the depleting number of council-tax payers.

    Local government should be financed entirely by central government and this unfair tax which puts considerable pressure on the less fortunate people should be repealed.

  2. Sally Parrott Reply

    January 21, 2017 at 8:22 am

    Some readers may have forgotten that two years ago Surrey councillors awarded themselves allowances far above those recommended by the independent remuneration panel:

    In the last 16 months SCC spent £67 million on assets outside the county:

    One year ago, according to the Surrey Comet newspaper of 29 January ‘Potholes have cost Surrey County Council £250,289 in the past financial year – with the highest number of claims of any English county.’

    My own suggestion would be to think hard before voting for the Tory councillors again, campaign for social care funding to be a national rather than local responsibility (if Surrey is struggling, things must be desperate in some poor areas) and campaign for a reform of council tax with more bands, so huge houses in Weybridge are charged more than three times the council tax of a studio flat.

    I have no solution to the question of the 15% rise, but fear such a large increase in council tax will leave many poorer households struggling and possibly force them into homelessness.

  3. A Tatlow Reply

    January 22, 2017 at 12:16 pm

    A 15% increase would cancel out my Winter Fuel Allowance, upon which, as a basic state pensioner with no private pension, I rely.

  4. Valerie Thompson Reply

    January 25, 2017 at 5:02 pm

    This whole sorry affair is moral blackmail.

    To threaten the populace with the removal of services for the elderly and disabled, and to remove care homes and activities for Alzheimers sufferers is disgraceful.

    These expenditures are just one aspect for which our local taxes are used. To make us all feel guilty that we are denying these people council assistance is quite unfair.

    The county council should make cuts in its own backyard not award themselves huge pay increases, and not spend our money on elaborate events and vanity projects.

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