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The leader of Surrey CC has welcomed news that the Audit Commission lays blame for high council tax rises squarely ...
The leader of Surrey CC has welcomed news that the Audit Commission lays blame for high council tax rises squarely at the feet of government ministers. This comes as the council reveals it has received the lowest grant per head in the UK - the government has allocated £482 per person.

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.

'This was exactly the problem we highlighted when the grants were made last month - a rise in funding of £29m may look good on paper, but when the government tells us to spend it all on education and then tells us to increase spending on, for instance, social care, you begin to scratch your head and wonder where the balance is.

'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

Sussex £565).

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