Surrey County Council approves 1.99% tax rise

Surrey County Hall
Image caption Surrey County Council has pledged investment in flood defences

Surrey County Council has approved a council tax rise of just under 2% for 2015-16.

The Conservative-led council said it was aiming to cut spending by £62m in the next financial year.

Councillor David Hodge, leader of the council, said it would be spending money on new school places, social care support and flooding schemes.

Councillor Hazen Watson, Lib Dem opposition leader, said the Tories had "got their priorities wrong".

She said: "We shouldn't be cutting services before we cut administration."

Councillor Eber Kington, from the Residents' Association, said: "This council will not look at ways of saving money on the cost of running itself."

Flood defence spending

The 1.99% rise in council tax would see an increase of 46p per week for a band D property.

Mr Hodge said that £1m would be invested in flood maintenance schemes after more than 2,000 properties in the county were affected by floods in early 2014.

The council has pledged to invest £500,000 for each of the next five years in the River Thames flood defence scheme.

Mr Hodge said: "Despite the fact that we provide essential services... local government has consistently borne the brunt of Whitehall's austerity measures.

"This year that trend shows no sign of letting up - with a further £24m cut from our government grants and more reductions to our funding yet to be announced."

He said the council had yet to receive funding for an extra 13,000 school places which would be needed over the next five years.

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