Surrey council tax rise approved before vote

Members of Surrey County Council’s cabinet have unanimously approved a proposal to increase council tax by 15 per cent, with the council expected to approve the measure at a meeting next week.

The council's cabinet has approved the controversial hike, which is due come into effect in April - a month before a legally-required vote, meaning a potential costly outlay for the council.

The referendum is expected to take place on 4 May, alongside local elections - if the budget is approved.

The referendum itself is predicted to cost up to £300,000. It will cost the council a further £630,000 to send out new council tax bills if the rise was rejected.

The result of government spending cuts and an increased demand for social care, the proposed increase in Surrey would add nearly £200 to a Band D bill, totalling approximately £1,500 per year.

Councillor Hazel Watson, leader of the Liberal Democrat opposition on the council, said: "The Conservative administration at County Hall is asking Surrey residents to pay more for less - an unreasonable and unaffordable 15 per cent council tax increase and £93 million of unspecified cuts in council services.

"It is time for the Tories at County Hall to end their secrecy and to spill the beans about the £93 million of cuts which are coming down the pipeline."