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simonAt a heated full council meeting at the Tandridge Council offices last night, the Liberal Democrat group abstained on the vote for the 2018 proposed budget where it was agreed to increase the Council Tax by 2.99%. The Liberal Democrats agreed with the level of spending and council tax increase given the extremely difficult financial circumstances confronting the Council but disagreed with some of the ways in which the Tories propose to spend the money available.

A number of issues were raised including the profiteering from some of the worst off in our community through an inflation busting ground rent increase and the allocation of an eye watering amount of money to marketing.

There is an extra £90,000 allocated to marketing and public relations in the committee budgets over two years, and it appears the Conservatives want to prioritise peddling their own propaganda than cleaning our streets.

ChrisChris Botten, Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group says “We all know times are tough for local Councils because of Sam Gyimah voting to cut local government funding even further, but the council can make better choices”

“People speak to me all of the time complaining that the area has become scruffier with the loss of the barrowmen who cleared litter. This didn’t need to happen. The Council could spend less tax-payers’ money on spurious press releases and spend on litter collection which our group thinks, and I believe the residents think is more important”

Councillor Simon Morrow added “planning enforcement is another area where the public relations money could be spent. I deal with so many issues. The staff are always professional but with an underfunded planning enforcement team action is sometimes not as quick and effective as we and the public would like”

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