Funds warning sees Surrey leader step down

David Hodge, the leader of Surrey County Council, has announced that he is stepping down from the role on 11 December.

Hodge used his resignation speech to the council cabinet to hit out at a lack of government funding having been plagued by financial issues during his tenure. Citing ‘circumstances beyond its control’, Hodge said councils had lost £16 billion in funding since 2009 and Surrey had lost £230 million. Accountants warned in September that Surrey would not have sufficient reserves to meet a funding gap unless it acted.

Surrey County Council had reduced costs by £540 million over the past eight years and was on target to save a further £106 million this year, a fact Hodge quoted when saying it was the right time to leave, highlighting how Surrey was ‘firmly fixed on an exciting new vision for the future’.

Surrey County Council controversially sought to increase council tax by 15 per cent at the start of 2017, with the BBC later obtaining a leaked recording of Hodge saying he struck a deal with the government before scrapping a 15 per cent council tax hike.

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