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Mayor Dave Slams Government Over Leaks Suggesting Secret Sweetheart Deal for Surrey

February 11, 2017 11:12 AM

Dave Hodgson with Town Bridge behind

Mayor Dave Hodgson has slammed the Government after leaks released this week suggested that special government support has been given to Conservative-run Surrey County Council to avert its now-reversed 15% Council tax rise.

Text messages sent by the Leader of Surrey County Council revealed that Government officials were in direct contact with the authority, with one reading: "I'm advised that DCLG officials have been working on a solution and you will be contacting me to agree a memorandum of understanding."

Mayor Dave Hodgson is writing to the government to ask for clarification over exactly what the resolution' refers to, and whether specialist support from government is available to all councils.

The revelations follow the release of letters last year between then Prime Minister David Cameron and the leader of Conservative-run Oxfordshire County Council about the government's massive cuts in funding for councils, in which Mr Cameron offered direct advice and support from Number 10 advisors.

Mayor Dave Hodgson said: "The government has created a national funding crisis in social care. It should be working with all councils to ensure elderly and vulnerable people can receive the care and support they need. Instead, these leaks suggest the Government is giving targeted help on a political basis to Conservative-run areas such as Surrey.'

"I am seeking clarification of what exactly this support has involved, while calling for the government to ensure adequate funding for all local councils, on a non-political basis."

Mayor Dave's call comes in the wake of Bedford Borough Council's 2017/18 budget, which included unavoidable cuts caused by government underfunding, passing by 39 votes to 1, with overwhelming cross-party support.