Shortly you will hear that Surrey County Council intend to hold Referendum – yes another one of those damned R words – which will undoubtedly attract lies, damned lies, and statistics?
These words – “Budget – and significant shortfall” will be the buzz words of our local authorities from here on in – those whose poor past management of “our money” is legendary.
There is no bigger example than “Your Waverley”s” Great Brightwells/East Street Debacle. Where councillors are perfectly happy to throw millions of pounds, if necessary, in a bid to thwart the attempt of Farnham’s Fearless Famous Five at a Judicial Review later this month.
No doubt, if FFFF’s are successful, the Council will appeal the decision – why? because this argument is not about what is legally or even strategically, right – but a war of financial attrition – in other words David (with little money and backed by the public) Goliath with stacks of dosh “our money” to waste!
So… where are we?
“Your Waverley” most likely will increase council tax by another 2% – and Surrey County Council by 15%. So a Band D property could have an increase of over £200 a year. But such a huge increase by the county council cannot be imposed without holding a Referendum – more money down the drain – and… what exactly do they intend to do with that money?
THAT IS THE QUESTION?
Last year the county council increased the Adult Social Care tax by 2%, which produced an extra £11.8m – (see e-mail below from the Cabinet Member for ASC Councillor Mel Few.
He says: “It was used to meet some of the demand for ASC services. The current demand increase for ASC in Surrey is currently around 6% annually with the majority being spent on individual packages of care for older people with physical, sensory and/or learning difficulties and mental health.”
In answer to a question posed by the Waverley Web did it increase fees to Surrey’s nursing home providers – this is his vague answer :
“Following joint work between SCC and Surrey Care Association ASC did increase guide prices for nursing and residential care in 2016/17.
However, enquiries by WW to a number of nursing/residential homes in Surrey, has revealed they have received “no such increase” and some are running at a huge financial loss.
We also posed the question: – Why had the county council removed its contributions across the county for Meals on Wheels – a service designed to keep old people independent in their own homes?
“SCC does not directly fund Meals on Wheels Services to district and borough councils.” and… in a later e-mail when it was suggested to him that it had in the past contributed towards MOW’s. He responded:
“We have however reviewed grants that were made to various local authorities as it was established that those funds, in most cases were simply merged with other income.”
He isn’t saying that those monies were used for other purposes – is he – surely not!
This month Waverley Borough Council stepped into the breach to provide a Meals on Wheels Service through “some” of its Day Centres, due, it claimed, to the county council’s decision to withdraw its funds!
So… who is telling the truth. In this particular instance – Our money is on “Your Waverley.”
SO BEFORE WE ALL AGREE TO HUGE COUNCIL TAX RISES – WILL SOMEONE TELL US TRUTHFULLY – WHAT WILL IT BE USED FOR?
Investing over £30m – it has now dropped from £50m – into the re-development of Brightwells/East St in Farnham – or funding nursing homes “properly” to care for our elderly and infirm? Or will the money be used to further inflate the gold plated final salary pensions that business can no longer afford?