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Welcome to the website of the Liberal Democrat Group on Surrey County Council

Hazel Watson Stephen Cooksey Fiona White John Orrick Ian Beardsmore Pauline Searle Will Forster David Goodwin
  • Tory allowances
    Article: Jun 7, 2018

    Liberal Democrat county councillors in Surrey have launched a petition calling for the recent increase in allowances for Conservative councillors to be reversed. The increase was voted through by Conservative Councillors with four new positions of "Deputy Cabinet Member" created, each at a cost to the taxpayer of £10,000, despite the County Council planning millions of pounds of cuts to services over the next year. The Conservatives also voted to reinstate allowances for vice-chairs of committees, contradicting a report from the Independent Remuneration Panel which concluded that allowances for vice-chairs were not necessary.

  • County Hall
    Article: May 23, 2018

    Liberal Democrat County Councillors in Surrey have heavily criticised the Conservative-administration at County Hall after Conservative Councillors awarded themselves thousands of pounds of extra allowances in a vote at Council yesterday. The vote means that 4 new Deputy Cabinet positions will be created, at a cost of £40K a year, as well as extra allowances for committee vice-chairs. Liberal Democrat County Councillors opposed these increases and voted against them at County Hall.

    Cllr Chris Botten, Leader of the Liberal Democrats at Surrey County Council, said:

  • Chris Botten
    Article: May 22, 2018

    Reacting to the news that Government Commissioners will be overseeing Children's Services in Surrey for 3 months, Cllr Chris Botten, Leader of the Liberal Democrats on Surrey County Council,said today:

    "I welcome the decision for Commissioners to work in Surrey over the next 3 months. The County Council needs a laser-like focus in improving these vital services for the children of Surrey and the work of the Commissioners will aid this process. The Leader of the Council and the Cabinet Member have rightly spoken about the need for urgent change and I share their passion. But this most recent judgement from Ofsted means that my patience for change is at an end. The children of Surrey deserve the highest standard of services and Liberal Democrats councillors will play their part in holding the County Council, and its leadership, to account".

  • County Hall
    Article: May 16, 2018

    Responding to the publication of today's Ofsted inspection of Surrey County Council, Cllr Chris Botten, Leader of the Liberal Democrats, said:

    "The publication today of the Ofsted report into Surrey's Children's services makes difficult reading, and tells of a slow, almost dilatory approach to improvement since the last Ofsted inspection. I agree that the right leadership and governance arrangements are now in place to make rapid progress, but am concerned about the lost years for the children in our care. Surrey County Council has been far too slow to recognise the urgent need for modernisation and improvement. The new appointment of an Executive Director for Children, Families & Learning gives me confidence going forward, but nothing can repair the years when children received poor support and were at risk. Each and every recommendation in the report must be implemented and I will do my best to ensure, through my membership of the Children's Select Committee, that they are".

  • Chris Botten
    Article: May 16, 2018

    The Liberal Democrat group on Surrey County Council have appointed Cllr Chris Botten as Group Leader following the retirement of Cllr Hazel Watson from the group leadership.


    Cllr Botten, who has represented Caterham Hill division since 2017, said:


    "Hazel has worked incredibly hard over many years and I will be looking to build on her strong legacy. It is fitting that her 25 years as a county councillor will be celebrated at next week's Council AGM.

  • Budget Cuts
    Article: May 1, 2018

    Liberal Democrat county councillors have expressed their concern after it was revealed that Surrey County Council is planning to reduce spending on services by nearly £200m by the end of 2019/20. The figures were released in a report to the Council's Cabinet earlier this week, alongside the Conservative-administration's decision to hire consultants, at an undisclosed sum, to assist with the County Council's "programme management and change capacity" project.

  • Cllr Hazel Watson
    Article: Apr 10, 2018

    Liberal Democrat county councillors have expressed their concern after it was revealed that Surrey County Council has not spent any of the income derived from its £298 million commercial property portfolio on council services. Previously, the Conservative Cabinet Member for Property & Business Services stated that: "We also have an additional need to generate an income from our strategy if we are to have any hope of raising enough money to fund the services our residents need."

  • Angela Goodwin & Chris Botten
    Article: Apr 4, 2018

    Liberal Democrat county councillors in Surrey have expressed concern that proposed changes to the arrangements for drug and alcohol detoxification will make it more difficult for those trying to beat addiction.

    Surrey County Council is currently consulting on proposals that include the closure of the in-patient facility at Windmill House in Chertsey, leaving only one in-patient bed for the whole of the county - which will be located outside of Surrey. Other patients will be required to attend day centres in either Guildford or Redhill, and will have to return to their homes in the evenings and at weekends in a programme called "ambulatory detoxification."

  • Cllr Hazel Watson
    Article: Mar 27, 2018

    Liberal Democrat county councillors in Surrey have called for a review of the County Council's admitted failings in the Parsons Green bomb incident. Ahmed Hassan, 18, was convicted of attempted murder on 16th March 2018. He had been placed in foster care in Sunbury by Surrey County Council since the summer of 2016.

  • pothole1
    Article: Mar 22, 2018

    Liberal Democrat county councillors in Surrey have revealed that it would take over three quarters of a billion pounds to repair the county's roads and footways to an "as new" standard. At the current rate of spending, it would take the Conservative-run County Council almost 50 years to complete this work. The information was revealed following questioning from Liberal Democrat county councillors this week.

    Cllr Stephen Cooksey, Liberal Democrat spokesperson for Highways, said today: