UKIP take Challenge to Conservatives in Council Tax Battle

Roger Bird to stand against "the real villain" Cllr David Hodge

UKIP take Challenge to Conservatives in Council Tax Battle

Published on Wed, 01/02/2017 - 17:00

UKIP have thrown down the gauntlet in the council tax row engulfing Surrey by announcing a senior figure will be standing in Warlingham against Conservative council leader David Hodge.
Roger Bird, the Special Assistant to UKIP leader Paul Nuttall MEP and the former Chairman of UKIP's South East region said he wants UKIP "to be the official voice for those opposed to these bank-breaking rises."
Mr Bird, a company Finance Director and a former councillor in Wandsworth, the borough which for years set the lowest council tax in the country, said voters can "send a strong message that they will not be a cash cow for government" after the Conservatives cut the local authority annual grant yet again.
"But the real villain is Cllr. Hodge. Not for the first time, his administration is trying to increase taxes as much as possible. His own report states that there is a £39m funding reduction next year, so he proposes a tax increase of £81m to pay for it.
"Meanwhile his auditors have given him the thumbs down with a qualified report at the beginning of his council's last accounts due to its horrific record in children's services. This is a scandal which has now been running in Surrey since 2008.
"Cllr. Hodge's own budget report boasts of savings implemented, but admits in the small print that the latest proposed savings are unachievable and that the Council will overspend this year. Meanwhile, councillors' allowances in Surrey have shot up from £1,430,000 in 2009/10 to £1,926,000 in 2015/16, perhaps the only part of the county budget to be ring-fenced from austerity.
"Cllr. Hodge is rewarding himself for failure. The voters of Surrey have the chance to stop him. I am standing in Warlingham to challenge him directly, as I have a track record of helping to deliver a low council tax.
"Over the coming weeks I shall be presenting further detailed evidence of Cllr. Hodge's financial failures which have led to this extraordinary tax referendum."

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