Surrey County Council wrong to hike Council Tax

February 09, 2012 10:16 AM

The TaxPayers’ Alliance (TPA) has today heavily criticised Surrey County Council for voting to hike Council Tax by 2.99 per cent at a time when hard pressed taxpayers are struggling with rising bills. Council Tax is second only to VAT as the most burdensome tax for the poorest households. Most local authorities have chosen to freeze Council Tax while some, like the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead, have chosen to help local families by cutting it. Surrey County Council has instead decided to increase the burden on local families.

TaxPayers’ Alliance research and official statistics put this rise in context, and suggest some areas where savings could be made instead:

  • Over the past 10 years residents in Surrey County Council have seen their Council Tax bills increase by 72 per cent

  • The Chief Executive at Surrey County Council received total remuneration of £253,133 in 2010/2011. There were at least 19 staff who received more than £100,000 at the authority in 2009/10

  • Councillors' allowances at Surrey County Council cost taxpayers £1,582,000 in 2010-11

  • Taxpayers paid (via employer contributions) £32,124,000 to the Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) at Surrey County Council in 2010-11, an increase of £453,000 from the previous year

  • 55 councillors in Surrey have enrolled themselves on the LGPS. Many authorities choose not to allow councillors on to the scheme, recognising the historically volunteer role of local politicians

  • The estimated cost of union officials at Surrey Council is £284,743, these are staff paid for by taxpayers but work for the trade unions. This does not include the cost of other support provided such as office space or the administration of union fees

  • Surrey Police Authority are increasing the size of their Council Tax precept, further adding to each household’s bill

  • The TPA have previously highlighted other areas of wasteful spending by Surrey County Council including articles such as  'The cost of mobile phones' and 'Surrey County Council get the latest toy'. Surrey has appeared in our regular ‘Non-job of the week’ feature in: February 2011, March 2011 and August 2011


 

Matthew Sinclair, Director of the TaxPayers' Alliance, said:
“The council have let people in Surrey down by imposing a big hike in council tax on residents, so many of whom already struggle to pay. Over the last ten years there has already been a drastic increase in council tax bills and, with so many other pressures on their finances, this is the last thing families in the county need. Surrey needs to follow the example of other local authorities who have shown it is possible to combine quality services with lower bills, and deliver much better value for money.”
The TaxPayers’ Alliance (TPA) has today heavily criticised Surrey County Council for voting to hike Council Tax by 2.99 per cent at a time when hard pressed taxpayers are struggling with rising bills. Council Tax is second only to VAT as the most burdensome tax for the poorest households. Most local authorities have chosen to freeze Council Tax while some, like the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead, have chosen to help local families by cutting it. Surrey County Council has instead decided to increase the burden on local families.

TaxPayers’ Alliance research and official statistics put this rise in context, and suggest some areas where savings could be made instead:

  • Over the past 10 years residents in Surrey County Council have seen their Council Tax bills increase by 72 per cent

  • The Chief Executive at Surrey County Council received total remuneration of £253,133 in 2010/2011. There were at least 19 staff who received more than £100,000 at the authority in 2009/10

  • Councillors' allowances at Surrey County Council cost taxpayers £1,582,000 in 2010-11

  • Taxpayers paid (via employer contributions) £32,124,000 to the Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) at Surrey County Council in 2010-11, an increase of £453,000 from the previous year

  • 55 councillors in Surrey have enrolled themselves on the LGPS. Many authorities choose not to allow councillors on to the scheme, recognising the historically volunteer role of local politicians

  • The estimated cost of union officials at Surrey Council is £284,743, these are staff paid for by taxpayers but work for the trade unions. This does not include the cost of other support provided such as office space or the administration of union fees

  • Surrey Police Authority are increasing the size of their Council Tax precept, further adding to each household’s bill

  • The TPA have previously highlighted other areas of wasteful spending by Surrey County Council including articles such as  'The cost of mobile phones' and 'Surrey County Council get the latest toy'. Surrey has appeared in our regular ‘Non-job of the week’ feature in: February 2011, March 2011 and August 2011


 

Matthew Sinclair, Director of the TaxPayers' Alliance, said:
“The council have let people in Surrey down by imposing a big hike in council tax on residents, so many of whom already struggle to pay. Over the last ten years there has already been a drastic increase in council tax bills and, with so many other pressures on their finances, this is the last thing families in the county need. Surrey needs to follow the example of other local authorities who have shown it is possible to combine quality services with lower bills, and deliver much better value for money.”

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