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RA sets above-inflation Council Tax increase

February 17, 2009 11:48 PM
Cllr Allison Kelly

Lib Dem Cllr Allison Kelly - Opposition Finance Spokesperson

Despite constructive proposals from the Lib Dem opposition for a smaller rise, the RA-led borough council have set an above-inflation increase in Council Tax of 3.9%. Taken with the 2.9% increase for Surrey County Council and 4.9% for the Surrey police, this will lead to an overall increase of 3.3% in Council Tax bills in the borough.

Lib Dem Finance spokesperson Cllr Alison Kelly said: "As you would expect, the priorities of the Liberal Democrat Opposition are different from those of the ruling Residents' Party. Our proposals would be to increase council tax by just 2.9%, aligned with a freeze on civic and ceremonial expenditure and a freeze on IT expenditure for the coming year. Our budget would also have involved making far less use of the council's financial reserves."

"We do not support spending £100,000 on computer and electronic facilities and question the continuation of a policy that entitles the Mayor to invite friends along to "official" events at council taxpayers' expense."

"We are disappointed that so much of next year's capital programme is inwardly focused, rather than being of direct benefit to residents. Furthermore, our budget proposals would make better use of the significant sums of money which have been received via legal agreements attached to planning permissions, which currently sit in the bank gathering what interest they can. We believe there is a moral responsibility to use these monies promptly for the purpose intended. As an example, the council has had a pot of money set aside for many years to benefit the disused Horton Chapel, the interest on which up to 31st March 2008 was £163,000."