Nick Skellett said: 'We welcome the Audit Commission's findings, which are due to indicate that potential tax rises are not - as the government had implied - the fault of local councils, but of ministers setting completely unrealistic spending targets.
'The plain fact is that, either by intention or not, the government has misled the public by indicating that any tax rises would be the result of decisions taken at town halls and nothing to do with central government. The case is almost exactly the reverse - we are anticipating council tax rises almost purely as a result of the funding shortfall, and are working extremely hard behind the scenes to try and offset the impact on the local taxpayer.
'Obviously there will be an impact, but due to efficiency drives and budget freezes over the next 12 months we hope to keep this to well under the forecast UK average of 13%.'
Grant of just over £500m
Budget of £960m
Increase on lastyear: £29m
Spending directives from government: To 'passport' this extra £29m to Education
Grant means Surrey gets £482 per person (Kent gets £619, Cumbria £635, West