Do we really need Surrey County Council, because it would appear it is sinking fast?​

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Surrey County Council will not have sufficient reserves to meet its funding gap in 2019-20 unless it acts now, accountants have warned in a report.

The Conservative-run  County Council, operating in the second richest borough in the country was accused last year of agreeing an alleged “sweetheart” funding deal with the government after it planned a 15% council tax hike.

However, perhaps the Waverly Borough Cllr for Hambledon had his facts right when he dropped this little bombshell into a recent council meeting of Waverley Council? Maybe, just maybe, we are watching the beginning of the death throes of county towers? Perhaps local government final salary pensions should be finally ditched to get our local authorities back in the black, instead of slashing and burning our services?

Listen here to a clip which has sent shivers down the back of doomed Surrey County Council.

Has Hambledon’s Holder become a bit bolder or is he just demob happy as he prepares to leave ‘Your Waverley?.

The new report says this year’s £36m funding gap could rise to £94m by 2021. Probably even further if it continues with Leader David Hodge’s present economic strategy. But fear not Surrey taxpayers, he said Surrey was “taking all the right steps”.

Finance warnings have been issued at other councils across the country, with East Sussex planning to strip services to the “legal minimum” and Northamptonshire warning of “radical” service cuts.

In a report commissioned by the council, the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) said Surrey’s gross expenditure was expected to increase by 6.5% over four years, but funding would rise by “only 2.4%” over the same period.

It warned this would lead to a funding gap of £36m in 2018-19, rising to £86m by March 2020 and to £94m by March 2021.

The Leader of the Liberal Democrats on Surrey Chris Botten said:

“The CIPFA report says Surrey’s finance function is not fit for purpose. It is “too passive” and cannot provide the leadership required to address the current financial pressures in Surrey. 

The CEO Joanna Killian called in CIPFA because she was concerned to ensure that the finance function was strong enough and on the evidence of the report has taken the appropriate steps to put things right. 

The trouble is, it is seven years too late. Because the quality of financial reporting has been poor, and because of the reported “passivity” residents will face more sudden, deeper cutting service reductions because SCC didn’t start addressing the changing funding regime until a couple of years ago. The wasted years will leave a legacy of much-reduced services which will genuinely shock residents.

A classic case of too little, too late.”


Further Reading:
11.05.18 – Surrey Advertiser – What do councillors cost ratepayers per year copy

10.05.18 – Haslemere Herald – Councillors claim nearly £2m in expenseshttps://www.bbc.co.uk/news/amp/uk-england-surrey-45552324

 

3 thoughts on “Do we really need Surrey County Council, because it would appear it is sinking fast?​

  1. Why are we paying so much for administration to create such a large funding gap? It also raises the question with so many new houses and extensions being built why is there a funding gap. Hopefully business rates are also being paid on Farnham’s East street.

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  2. No businesses-=no business rates. No Surrey County Council=taxpayer’s money could then be used for providing the services we need rather than polishing the ego’s of a Conservative Administration and a bunch of highly paid officers, CEO’s and Deputy CEO’s, Chairpeople etcetera – and the plumply salaried supporting directorates all of whom trouser their huge Final Salary pensions. The final pension salary schemes that have been ditched everywhere else – except in local authorities, Government and the floundering NHS!
    Still no doubt everyone will vote this lot in again and then the county council can squeeze us all until the pips squeak?

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