It has emerged that Conservative Run Surrey County Council supressed a damning assessment of the financial health of the Council conducted by the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA). The report cost the council £25,000 and was commissioned in December, but was only released to councillors on March 21st, six weeks after the budget decision.
David Lee Lib Dem Candidate for Caterham Valley and Whyteleafe says, “How are councillors supposed to make massive decisions about budgets if the Tory administration is hiding the facts?”
The CIPFA benchmarked the Councils spending against a number of other councils including Buckinghamshire, Kent and Hampshire. Their information suggests that the council is spending circa £100 million more each year than what the average of other similar sized councils would expect to. David Lee continues, “The council are claiming they are short of money, but it is clear to me that they are mismanaging it. They are wasting huge amounts of money on Surrey Matters Magazine, Management Consultants and lavish headquarters in Kingston.”
The CIPFA said that the council has a population in line with the rest of the country with no significant differences from the rest of the country which dispels any cries from Tories of “special circumstances”.
The report presented to David Hodge when he was proposing a referendum on the 15% council tax hike told him that the likely outcome of the referendum was to fail. David Hodge and his Tory councillors need to be held accountable for this shambles. We are where we are because of the huge amounts of waste generated by them.
The report finishes with the assessment that “the council’s financial plans are not robust and financially unsustainable.
Chris Botten, Liberal Democrat Candidate for Caterham Hill says “The Tories under David Hodge are financial incompetent. It is not surprising they hid this report; we need a change at Surrey. The Tory myth of competence has been wiped out. They have tried to hide that - they must go!”