Lib Dems say budget fails residents:
The Lib Dems have slammed the Conservatives running Surrey County Council's budget as one that fails residents by making them 'pay twice' for social care reforms whilst mismanagement sees money wasted, services cut and £200 million held in reserves.
People in Surrey will now be faced with 'paying twice' for social care reforms thanks to a combination of a 4.99% increase in the County Council's share of council tax and a 1.25 percentage points rise in National Insurance.
The change to National Insurance, which breaks the Tories' manifesto promise not to raise taxes, will mean hard-pressed local families and small businesses will be left paying hundreds of pounds more in tax each year. Surrey County Council's council tax increase will add to the cost-of-living burdens faced by local residents.
Despite claiming to be raising taxes to invest in social care, the County Council's budget for 2022/23 includes cuts of over £43 million to its adult social care department alone over the next three years and a recent public consultation highlighted the possible closure of 8 Council run care homes.
Lib Dem Councillors also criticised the Conservatives for spending over £28m on agency staff, employing 1,666 people who earn over £50,000 and prioritising spending on press officers over frontline workers.
Lib Dem Group Leader, Councillor Will Forster, said:
"It is hugely disappointing that Surrey County Council has set a budget that fails residents. With the country in the grip of a cost-of-living crisis, Surrey residents will feel the pain of this council tax increase coupled with the upcoming hike in National Insurance and soaring energy and other bills. The Council should not be piling further pressure onto household budgets with such a large council tax rise when it has £200 million in the bank."
"The Council's decision to make cuts of £43m in social care and almost £8m in children's social services is an absolutely heartless decision from a Conservative administration that claims to want 'No One Left Behind'. Instead, the Tories are putting at risk, those critical services that support our most vulnerable residents. The Lib Dems and I believe that money must be allocated to safeguard these services."
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