Liberal Democrat County Councillors have condemned the Conservative-run County Council's proposal to increase the County Council element of the Council Tax by 15% - nine times the rate of inflation - and have launched a petition opposing the increase and calling on the government to properly fund social care as a national service.
The petition has already been signed by hundreds of Surrey residents every day since its launch as the public outcry against this Council Tax increase has grown. If you have not already done so we would like to invite you to sign the petition at: https://signme.org.uk/1304
Signing the petition will send a message to the Conservative administration at County Hall and the central government that this Council Tax rise is unfair, unaffordable and not the way in which to address a national crisis in the funding of adult social care.
Once you have signed the petition, please tell your family and friends about it and ask them to sign too.
If the rise is approved at Cabinet and then Council in the next couple of weeks, 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 on 4 May.
A yes vote will then add a 15% increase a year to bills for Band D properties and will still result in millions of pounds worth of cuts to essential services.
A no vote will 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.
The Liberal Democrats have opposed and will continue to oppose this huge increase in Council Tax as it is unaffordable for many Surrey residents and as it would hit the elderly and those on fixed-incomes hardest. We believe that it is quite wrong for the Tories to try and shift this funding problem onto Surrey residents with the result that many families who are "just about managing" at the moment will "not be able to manage" in the future.
The Liberal Democrats have also opposed this huge increase as it will still mean substantial increases in charges and cuts to services: the recent increase in social care charges, the cuts to grants awarded to voluntary organisations, and introduction of charges for disposing of household waste at the tips will not be reversed and the decision to close the County's Alzheimer's Centres will be implemented.
Furthermore, we believe that it is astonishing that the Conservative-administration thinks that Surrey residents should carry the can for their own financial failings and the government's failure to properly fund services. The crisis in the funding of adult social care which is behind this increase needs a long-term solution from national government not a temporary sticking plaster, which is what a large Council Tax rise would offer.
The Conservatives that run both the County Council and the Government have clearly failed Surrey residents. A national solution is required for the funding of social care to meet the growth in demand and despite the Leader of Surrey County Council holding a prominent position in the Local Government Association and Surrey being represented in the Cabinet through three Cabinet Ministers, including the Chancellor and Health Secretary, the Conservative Party has failed to deliver an acceptable national solution for the funding of social care.