Labour leaders on Cambridge City Council and Cambridgeshire County Council have reacted to news that the government may have signed a ‘sweetheart’ deal for the Conservative run Surrey Council to call off the controversial referendum Surrey had planned for a 15% council tax increase to plug the hole in its social care budget. The deal was revealed in Prime Minister’s Question Time yesterday (8 February) when Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn read out texts which the Leader of Surrey County Council, David Hodge, had sent to the Labour Leader of Newcastle Council rather than to a DCLG official.
Councillor Lewis Herbert, Leader of Cambridge City Council, has signed a letter from 62 Labour council leaders and elected Mayors to Theresa May, demanding that all councils are offered the same deal as Surrey.
Councillor Ashley Walsh, Leader of the Labour Group on Cambridgeshire County Council which meets on 14 February to agree a Budget for 2016 – 2017, said: “Cambridgeshire already gets a dreadful funding deal on vital services for the most vulnerable like social care when compared to places like Surrey. If Labour councillors sniff any favouritism for Surrey we will show Government just how big a fight Cambridgeshire can kick up to protect vital care here for adults, children and older people which is being starved of cash by national decisions.’
Councillor Lewis Herbert added: “What we will also resist are further rushed measures like the £240,000,000 taken from New Homes Bonus to give to counties needing extra social care funding. ‘Robbing Peter to pay Paul’ is no solution and makes sustainable growth locally far more difficult. The only way the Government can sort this out, and we hope they listen, is first to properly fund both social care and the NHS, and second to get them to work as joined up delivery, not the current two separate empires.”