Denton and Reddish MP, Andrew Gwynne, has reacted angrily to the discovery that the government has apparently offered Conservative-led Surrey Council special terms to back down on a proposal to increase council tax by 15 percent in order to deal with the social care crisis.
At present the Government has not offered any type of arrangement to the multitude of councils across England that have reached breaking point financially. Now, new Labour analysis of Local Government Association statistics reveals that by backing down from a 15 per cent council tax rise, in favour of a five percent rise, Surrey Council are foregoing £62m in increased revenue.1
Currently, the government has been unable to explain how this financial agreement was met, but revelations from leaked text messages2 unearthed at PMQ’s on 8 February by Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, show that some form of central government funding had been offered to the council. The South-East county council is partially represented in Parliament by the Chancellor, Phillip Hammond MP (Runnymede and Weybridge) and Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt MP, (South West Surrey).
If the government were to offer all local authorities funding to make up the difference between a 15 per cent and a five per cent rise it would cost them over £2bn.
Andrew Gwynne said:
“Almost every part of the country is feeling the impact of funding shortfalls on our adult social care budgets.
“On current projections, Tameside will require £16 million in additional funding, and Stockport £8 million, in order to provide basic adult social care, without it, more of the burden will fall on our NHS which is already struggling to cope as insufficient central government funding begins to bite.
“The government’s answer, a 3 per cent rise in council tax, will barely raise what is required. What I want to know is whether Tameside and Stockport will be offered the same deal as Surrey.
“I’ll be pursuing this with the Prime Minister and Health Secretary as it’s just not right.”