SCC Budget 2003

12 Feb 2003

Surrey County Council has increased its share of council tax for 2003-2004 by 17.9%. Cllr. Janet Maines, Lib Dem group leader said: "This Tory-run County Council has got to move away from crisis management, with its ever spiralling costs, by investing in preventative measures that are good value for money and that better meet the needs of Surrey residents".

The Liberal Democrats recognised that the Labour Government has added to Surrey's problems by under-funding the Council, particularly for social care, in order to direct funds to the north of the country. The Government does not recognise that the costs of running social services are much higher in Surrey, nor that many Surrey residents already struggle to pay their Council Tax.

The Lib Dems emphasised that there is scope for the Council to become much more efficient by cutting overheads and directing resources to the provision of vital services to residents. The Conservative administration has not acted on several proposals by the Liberal Democrats to improve efficiency.

As a result of Lib Dem pressure, the Tories accepted the need to identify efficiencies in Council expenditure by adopting a Zero Base approach to budgeting and through investment in preventative measures. "This should be really good news for Surrey residents", said Janet Maines. "A thorough look at expenditure should improve the Council's efficiency without reducing services to residents - and investment in preventative measures should improve their services."

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