SURREY County Council has scrapped a proposed 15 per cent council tax hike in a last minute bid to avoid a “divisive” referendum this May.
Councillors voted 53 in favour to 18 against council leader David Hodge’s revised recommendation to seek a five per cent rise to Surrey’s share of the council tax bill this April.
It comes after a dramatic intervention by the leader, in which he told members at Tuesday’s full council meeting that the Government now “understands” Surrey’s perilous financial situation and as such the council’s cabinet is prepared to “take a significant risk” by adopting a more modest tax rise.
Opposition councillors were scathing of the announcement however, and particularly the lack of detail on where Surrey plans to find £140 million of savings in the next financial year.
Combined with increases proposed by Farnham town council, the Police and Crime Commissioner for Surrey and Waverley Borough Council - it means the average Band D household in Farnham will likely see its annual tax bill increase £73.87 to £1,789.08 for 2017/18.
See this week’s Herald, on sale Thursday, for more analysis and reaction to Tuesday’s vote.