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Surrey CC want a 15% increase in council tax

posted 21 Jan 2017, 13:43 by Peter Webb   [ updated 21 Jan 2017, 13:44 ]

WHO CAN DECIDE WHAT ?: Apparently, if it goes to a referendum, we decide either for the increase, or for "cuts". But it may not come to that if Surrey Leader David Hodge's threat of a referendum as  a negotiating ploy is successul and VAT and Income Tax is used instead of council tax. SOME MORE POINTS:

 Surrey Tax Action Group (STAG) was born some 14 years ago when Surrey Council tax last 'exploded', by 19%. Here we go again ! The main underlying feature was and is again a change in the balance of funding between central and local.  Last time Labour was in power. The  system has long been  riddled with nonsenses and needs to be sorted and simplified so that the facts can be made clear at all times. The more it goes unreformed the more it is corrupted by such as tax  base changes (like the increase in students in rented accommodation).  And Parliament or someone needs to sort itself out so that reform and redesign can be got on with for the longer term. Our MPs seem to look away all the time. How we the people can get action short of a payment strike  I am not sure.

 Assuming the referendum question is addressed to "residents" rather than council tax payers, the minority,  the vote  will be unfairly weighted.

 Last time we knew that the Council  was 'overweight' with inefficiency and profligacy. This time I believe it is less so.  It is still shamefully secretive though when it comes down to the 'numbers'.

 The Conservative Council has just confirmed, according to press reports, that it is an undemocratic political  Party  machine by holding secret meetings and making secret submissions including  to Conservative Surrey MPs. Perhaps the referendum threat is a negotiating ploy. If that doesn't work for us we should change the people and Party at the next election in May.

 Has the council considered increases in charges for the increasingly extensive and impressive means -tested social  services provided? If that means sorting out inter-authority arrangements so be it. They could do with a wholesale managerial consolidation and to become more commercially minded.

 An expensive  referendum shouldn't be necessary (How much will it cost?) Given that an election is due on May 4th at much the same time that should be sufficient. But the Council will withhold the 2016-17 Annual Report, which is normally a sort of referendum question, until after the election…..very clever !!!

 I notice that I personally spend each year about the same on council tax and energy with 'homecare'. I feel that the latter gives more direct benefit per pound with choices than does council tax as the  price for local services. But of course that is a national  tax not a price and we shouldn't forget it.