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As you will know, I am committed to always working in the long-term interests of Surrey.
And where we need to act now to save money in the future we will do it – even if it goes against the national grain.
Next week the Cabinet will consider a proposal to declining the Government’s council tax freeze for next year and save the county from an enormous financial black hole.
For some councils it is a good offer but it’s not right for Surrey. We’d be trading short-term gain for long-term pain.
If we froze council tax and took Whitehall’s offer of a one-off grant, we’d be creating a hole in our budget of seventy million pounds in just five years.
That’s equivalent to wiping out Surrey’s road maintenance budget for more than two years.
This isn’t about us wanting to spend more money. Our plans mean we will not be spending any more in 2017 than we did in 2010.
The truth is that we have to increase council tax just to stand still, because our central government grant is being cut every year.
Despite this we’ve saved one hundred and thirty million pounds in the last two years and we’re on course to save three hundred and thirty million pounds by 2016.
Our draft proposals would mean that whilst making enormous savings we could do several things to increase funds for local projects – including increasing spending on local road maintenance schemes by one hundred per cent.
The increase would mean residents living in a Band D property paying an extra 64p a week or £34 a year.
For that we’ll be able to avoid saddling the county with a multi-million pound black hole and increase the support we give to local people to shape their communities.