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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
  • Cllr Hazel Watson
    Article: Feb 13, 2017

    Liberal Democrat County Councillors have expressed their concern as new figures were released that reveal poor levels of public satisfaction with Conservative-run Surrey County Council.

    According to the latest figures from the county council's own survey, just 39% of residents agreed that the county council provided value for money. The poor figures follow the Tory-run council's decision to cancel a 15% council tax rise after a public outcry from Surrey residents.

  • censored
    Article: Feb 8, 2017

    Cllr Hazel Watson, Leader of the Liberal Democrat County Councillors in Surrey, said today:

    "The text messages sent by the Leader of the Council, referred to in PMQs today, mention "numbers", "proposals" and "killing off the R [referendum]" - but none of this information was shared with Surrey County Councillors at our budget meeting yesterday.

  • Cllr Hazel Watson outside County Hall
    Article: Feb 7, 2017

    Liberal Democrats in Surrey today claimed victory as the Conservatives cancelled their planned 15% tax rise in the face of overwhelming opposition from Liberal Democrat councillors and Surrey residents. However, Cllr Hazel Watson, Leader of the Liberal Democrat County Councillors, condemned the Conservative county council's budget as a charade, as the Tory administration pushed through £123 MILLION of unspecified cuts to council services.

  • Norman Lamb MP
    Article: Feb 3, 2017

    Liberal Democrats in Surrey have written to the county's 11 Conservative Members of Parliament, asking them to back a cross party initiative on the future of social care and how to fund it.

    In the letter, Cllr Hazel Watson, Leader of the Liberal Democrats on Surrey County Council, has asked the 11 Surrey MPs to back plans by Norman Lamb MP, the Liberal Democrat Care Minister in the previous Coalition Government. He is calling on the government to establish an NHS & Care Convention, which will look for a long-term solution to the crisis in health and social care funding. The plan is backed by 25 MPs from all parties, and the supporting statement was also signed by Dr Dan Poulter MP, former Conservative Health Minister, and Liz Kendall MP, Labour's former shadow care minister. The Prime Minister has now met with Norman Lamb and a group of cross party MPs to discuss the proposal further.

  • County Cllr Hazel Watson
    Article: Jan 31, 2017

    Today at County Hall Surrey's Conservative Cabinet approved proposals for a 15% council tax rise, a referendum on the council tax on 4 May and cuts of £93 million to services in Surrey.

    Councillor Hazel Watson, Leader of the Liberal Democrats on Surrey County Council said:

    "The Conservative administration at County Hall is asking Surrey residents to pay more for less - an unreasonable and unaffordable 15% council tax increase and £93 million of unspecified cuts in council services.

    "It is time for the Tories at County Hall to end their secrecy and to spill the beans about the £93 million of cuts which are coming down the pipeline. Councillors who have to vote on the County Council budget next week and Surrey residents who pay council tax and are served by the County Council should not be kept in the dark and have a right to know now about the cuts which are on the way.

  • Hazel Watson
    Article: Jan 23, 2017

    Liberal Democrats on Surrey County Council have today launched a petition against the 15% increase in council tax being proposed by the Conservative administration, the largest in the country and 9 times the rate of inflation.

    If approved, this unprecedented increase would trigger a county-wide referendum on the proposals, with voters going to the polls on the same day as the county council elections in May of this year. A yes vote would add a 15% increase a year to bills for Band D properties and would still result in millions of pounds worth of cuts to essential services. A no vote would result in even more damaging cuts which is why Liberal Democrats have consistently called for a more appropriate level of funding from central government to the county council to help avoid large cuts to vital services for Surrey residents.

  • Cllr Hazel Watson outside County Hall
    Article: Jan 19, 2017

    Liberal Democrat county councillors in Surrey have condemned the Conservative-run county council which has today published its proposals to hike council tax by a massive 15% - the largest increase in the country and 9 times the rate of inflation.

    If approved, this unprecedented increase would trigger a county-wide referendum on the proposals, with voters going to the polls on the same day as the county council elections in May of this year. A yes vote would add a 15% increase a year to bills for Band D properties and would still result in millions of pounds worth of cuts to essential services. A no vote would result in even more damaging cuts which is why Liberal Democrats have consistently called for a more appropriate level of funding from central government to the county council to help avoid large cuts to vital services for Surrey residents.

  • Stephen Cooksey
    Article: Jan 10, 2017

    A Liberal Democrat county councillor in Surrey has written to a government minister asking him to scrap Surrey County Council's unpopular charges for taking household waste to Community Recycling Centres (CRCs).

    Cllr Stephen Cooksey, Liberal Democrat spokesperson for Highways & Environment, has written to Marcus Jones, Minister for Local Government, as part of his long-running campaign against the charges. The unpopular fees were introduced by the Conservative-run County Council in September 2016 despite a consultation in which residents made clear their opposition to the charges and their fears that fly-tipping would increase across the county as a consequence.

  • Cllr Hazel Watson outside County Hall
    Article: Jan 6, 2017
    Liberal Democrat County Councillors are calling for the Leader of Surrey County Council to release a secret letter he has written to Surrey MPs regarding the county council's finances.
    The letter, referred to as "certain communications from me on behalf of all of you" by the Leader of the Council at the council meeting on 6th December 2016, is believed to spell out in stark terms the financial position of the authority but has not been shared with elected members. It follows council meetings held in October and December 2016 where councillors of all parties agreed that the Leader of the Council should lobby central government for more funding for the council to help meet increased demand for services. The Chancellor of the Exchequer, who is a Surrey MP, should also have been sent a copy of the letter.
  • Tory Tax Bombshell
    Article: Dec 22, 2016
    Liberal Democrat county councillors in Surrey have expressed their dismay at Conservative plans to hike council tax by a massive 16% in the county.
    According to a report in the well respected Municipal Journal magazine, which covers local government issues, the county council is seriously considering a proposal to hold a county-wide referendum with the intention of raising council tax by 16%. Under the current rules, the county council can only raise the tax by an extra 4.99% a year, 3% of which is ring-fenced for adult social care, and must hold a referendum if it wishes to raise a larger amount.