Conservatives back down on proposed 15% increase in Council Tax after UKIP pressure

Conservatives back down on proposed 15% increase in Council Tax after UKIP pressure.

Conservatives back down on proposed 15% increase in Council Tax after UKIP pressure

Published on Wed, 08/03/2017 - 11:25

Conservative Council backs down on proposed 15% increase in Council Tax after UKIP pressure.
Conservative Councillor David Hodge has announced a rapid U-turn on plans for Tory-run Surrey County Council to increase the Council Tax by 15%.
UKIP candidate Roger Bird, selected to stand against Cllr. Hodge in Warlingham in this year's elections, said "Cllr. Hodge's climbdown is an admission that his sums did not add up when he demanded a massive 15% increase in Council Tax.
The BBC have obtained a secret recording of Councillor Hodge making shocking statements, click HERE.
Speaking on Radio Surrey last week, Mr. Bird pointed out that the Council wanted to compensate for a £39m grant reduction by imposing a tax rise of £81m. Following the Cllr. Hodge's U-turn, Mr. Bird commented: "He wouldn't have got that agreed by the Council, let alone the voters in a referendum. He's running scared and had to back down."
Mr. Bird added "First the Council told us there was no alternative. Now it seems there is. The Conservative Council is in full panic mode.
"Even if the Council gets extra cash out of the government, we know that Cllr. Hodge and his Conservative team will pitch for a 5% rise this year, and next year, and the year after. They will go for the biggest increases they can while avoiding having to justify their actions in a referendum so that voters can have their say.
"The Conservative line is very clear: tax rises this year and every year. In May, Surrey voters have the chance to stop them."
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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