SURREY residents face a six per cent increase in their council tax from April.

Leader of Surrey County Council, David Hodge, said the precept was proposed to go up by three per cent and the social care precept by 33 per cent for 2018/19. This means an overall increase of six per cent. The rates will go to full council for a final decision on Tuesday, February 6.

The proposals would cost a band D household £1.53 more a week, around £80 extra per year. 

Cllr Hodge said he ‘deeply’ regretted the proposed increase which was partly as a result of the Government ending Surrey’s transitional grant, which had been worth £24 billion to the council over the last two years. It now faces a funding shortfall of £39m for 2018/19 and £86m the year after.

Cllr Hodge said: “I am calling on the Government to reconsider their decision to end Surrey’s transitional grant before ministers finalise their settlement in the early part of February. Even though this will only plug some of the gap, it will allow us to reconsider some of the very difficult service reductions we currently will have to make.”

Robert Evans, Labour County Councillor for Stanwell and Stanwell Moor, blasted the proposed increase. 

He said: "As ever the Tory approach is blinkered and they are just choosing at the easiest option - increase Council Tax.

"A better more imaginative and fairer approach would be to change the current two-tier system of local government.

"Under the Conservatives, Surrey’s roads are in a dreadful state, the street lights being switched off, recycling centres closed and now taxes going up. Again.

"In Surrey, we have eleven borough and districts, each with a costly administration, council offices, a town hall, a chief executive and councillors.

"If you add on Surrey itself and County Hall, it means there are twelve chief executives, dozens of deputies and over 600 councillors! – quite apart from parish councils.

"In other parts of the country, Berkshire, Cornwall or Dorset, they’ve streamlined their local democracy. For example, Berkshire was abolished in 1998 and the powers passed to six unitary authorities. Dorset looks set to follow suit. In Cornwall, they had abolished the district councils in 2009 and opted for one unitary authority."

Arran Neathey, the chair of Surrey Labour said: "The Conservatives are failing Surrey residents at every level. They have all the MPs and run most of Surrey’s Councils – but run them badly.

"A radical overhaul will make Surrey more efficient and save millions of pounds. It will bring in direct accountability as everyone will know who to hold responsible as they will only have one council."