Cllr Hazel Watson

Cllr Hazel Watson, Leader of the Liberal Democrats on Surrey County Council, said:

"I am horrified that despite huge public opposition the Leader of the Council is talking about a referendum and a large council tax rise next year - he has clearly not listened to local residents.

The transcript of the Conservative Group meeting begs the question: what does the Leader of the Council have in writing? It suggests a deal between the Conservative administration at Surrey County Council with the government and that the Leader of the Council wants to keep it under wraps. This contradicts his previous statements denying that a deal had been done with the government.

These secrets do not do anyone any favours in local government. What is needed is a long term solution for the funding gap for adult social care and how we fund services across the country".


A picture of Cllr Watson can be found here:[email protected]/albums/72157674174923105

An extract of the transcript from the BBC is here:

HODGE I want an assurance that people will not put what I am about to say on Facebook or Twitter anything.. SHOUTS Show of hands.. Chris..

Hodge …. So I was able to come in this morning and ask Helen Platt and Peter to join me in the office while a series of conversations took place with the Secretary of State for local government, in his car outside number 10 downing street, looking for assurances, looking for clarification, looking for help basically. On how we could stop a referendum. He then went inside and spoke to the Chancellor, I think I can say that. The Spad was Waiting - (Witten) the spad being his adviser - and then the spad rang me with what we can and cannot say. There are certain things we cannot say and yes there are certain risks but I'm going to be commending that we go for a 4.99 % council tax.

The issue for me has always been 18/19 and 19/20 when we lose learning disability. We have done a huge amount of work with officials and officers but the govt is very clear that they want to push forward the fairer funding review…

We have agreed this morning that subject to them agreeing that if it is possible we will become part of that process going forward. …

Some of my friends will say you have to have it in writing, but there are sometimes a leader has to make a judgement call. It is really important that you understand who was in the room at the time I made the judgement call. The Deputy Leader was, and Helen was and she has huge experience.. the chief executive was in on the phone listening for 2 hours, the deputy chief exec, We listened carefully to the information that was being relayed back to us and yes, on the one hand Tony is absolutely right we should get something in writing, but on the other hand I do have something in writing, that Helen knows I have in writing, Sir Paul Beresford knows I have in writing which gives me a certain amount of comfort.

But I'm not going to release that information for obvious reasons. There may come a time that what I call Gentleman's agreements, that the Conservative Party often does, are not honoured we will have re-visit this in 9 months or a years time. If we do - I will assure you will have to drag me dragging not to go for a referendum this time next year.

There are risks attached to what we are going to do I want toi make that clear but I have witnesses who have recorded everything that was said and we have a gentleman's agreement with the chancellor and the secretary of state that we will sort the funding out for the following year.

Up until 11 o clock yesterday morning we thought we would have a resolution for this year but it wasn't possible but we can get a referendum for next year. But after today please don't text or tell anyone what we've done or send anyone a note that we've got a solution.

(FEMALE QUESTIONER) People are going to ask "have we done a deal"

We are in a different situation , the government has listened to us. All I'm going to say is that we are now at a point where we can go forward. David Mack said "say as little as possible, say this, and sit down"


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