The leader of Conservative run Surrey County Council made a spectacular U-turn yesterday abandoning plans to hold a referendum to increase council tax by 15% because of Lib Dem and resident pressure.
David Hodge, Leader of the Council and County Councillor for Warlingham said that he is prepared to “take a risk” with the people who need adult social care. He is confident that a solution to the funding crisis will be found but added no detail.Even more spectacularly, today it emerged that David Hodge had been texting members of the government in an attempt to “Kill off the R [referendum]” and there have been accusations of a cover up.
David Lee, Liberal Democrat Prospective Parliamentary candidate for East Surrey says, “The Conservatives seems to be flailing from one self-induced crisis to another. Only a few weeks ago we were told that there would be a referendum on a proposed 15% hike with £93million of unspecified cuts, then 20 minutes before the decision the Conservatives suddenly u-turn. Now Surrey will increase tax by 4.99% at the same time slash budgets by £93million with a further £30 million black hole. It seems to be finger in the air planning via text messages. Do they know what they are doing?”
John Orrick, Liberal Democrat County Councillor for Caterham on the Hill says "the Tories are blaming a Tory government for the situation they are in. East Surrey MP Sam Gyimah voted for a 24.6% cut in local government funding last year. Now we can see what his actionmeans."
Chris Botten, Leader of the Tandridge District Council Liberal Democrat Group says "We do not know where the Surrey Tories’ cuts will fall. Roads and Potholes? Libraries? Streetlights are already being turned off. Today’s text message debacle that has emerged from David Hodge leaves us with even more questions and highlights the complete lack of transparency at County Hall!”