Budget 2021: Oliver hails £5 billion boost for councils, as Hunt asks 'are we becoming left wing?'

By Daniel Gee   |   Head of Content   |
Friday 29th October 2021 4:00 am
@danielgeeherald
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Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak holds up the red box outside Number 11 on his first Budget. Picture by Harriet Pavey/ No 10 Downing Street

 

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SURREY County Council leader Tim Oliver has hailed a near £5 billion boost to Local Authority grant funding in the government Budget and Spending Review.

Councillor Oliver said: “We in Surrey were pleased to see the Chancellor take steps to ensure local government funding increases, with the news of a £4.8bn boost to grant funding over the next three years.

"I’d like to personally commend Secretary of State and local Surrey MP Michael Gove for working so closely with the Chancellor to secure the desperately needed resources for councils.

"Of course, the devil is in the detail and we need to know how this money will be allocated.

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"We must ensure that areas like Surrey receive shares that enable us to level up within as well as between parts of the UK.

“This is especially true in areas like social care, where Surrey County Council faces higher costs and unmet demand in years ahead due to the recently announced measures around the health and social care levy, new rights of private funders to council’s reduced rates, and the statutory changes to eligibility of children’s care.

"We must work together to find not only a lasting solution to the issue of sustainable funding for social care, but also how we attract and reward the workforce to ensure the high standard of care our residents expect.

“As we did in the run up to the Budget and Spending Review where we put forward a strong case for additional resources to address the financial pressures facing the county, we will now be working closely with government ahead of the Local Government Finance Settlement at the end of this year to understand and engage on how funding is to be shared out.

"This will ensure Surrey residents can continue to rely on the excellent services we at SCC are able to provide and to respond to changing needs over the coming years.”

South West Surrey MP Jeremy Hunt also responded to the budget in his weekly constituency newsletter.

He said: "The Chancellor delivered the Budget and Spending Review yesterday and there was rather more good news on spending than you might expect after a pandemic.

"Increases in spending for Health and Education, an earlier than expected return to the 0.7 per cent aid target, 50 per cent cuts in business rates, increases in the minimum and National Living Wages, and reforms to the Universal Credit taper rate.

"These last two will mean a pay rise for millions of low paid workers but all paid for by the state taking a bigger share of GDP than ever before.

"Are we becoming a left wing country? I don’t think so – most of the increase in spending comes from health (now 40 per cent of all spending) which relates to the ageing population rather than any change in ideology.

"If we were in America our insurance premiums would be going up by even more than taxes here – but given we do fund health through taxes we have a particular need to turbocharge the economic growth that pays for it."

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