Leader of Nottinghamshire Council criticises council tax ‘sweetheart deal’ in Surrey

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The leader of Nottinghamshire County Council has criticised an alleged tax deal that has been offered to a local authority in Surrey.

Jeremy Corbyn challenged Theresa May at Prime Minister’s Questions with a series of leaked text messages from the council’s leader, claiming ministers had offered a “sweetheart deal” to Surrey County Council.

A 15 per cent council tax rise was initially approved by bosses by the Conservative-run council has now been scrapped.

Plans for the hike were dropped during a full meeting of Surrey County Council. A rise of almost 5% has been approved instead.

Texts allegedly sent between sent between Surrey County Council leader David Hodge and a government official named Nick supposedly show that the local authority had been offered a special deal to call off the referendum.

Nottinghamshire County Council leader Alan Rhodes said that Surrey County Council has already received an additional £20 million more than labour-run Nottinghamshire in a transition grant and now it would seem the Government are offering them a further deal that will not be offered to Nottinghamshire either.

He said: “Nottinghamshire County Council has endured over £212 million in cuts from the Conservative Government, social care across the country including in Nottinghamshire is at crisis point. There are simply not the funds available to provide all the services that our communities need.

“The Conservative’s in Nottinghamshire refused to support our call for additional social care funding for Nottinghamshire. Nationally and locally the Conservatives are turning a blind eye to the crisis that exists in social care and health.

“This is serious, it is serious for our most vulnerable in our communities, it is serious for the future of every service in social care and it is quite clear and apparent that cuts to social care are having a huge negative impact on our NHS (which is also at crisis point).

“I would have to question as to why Surrey County Council, where both the Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt and the Chancellor Phillip Hammond have their constituencies, is being offered ‘a deal’ for their services but the situation in Nottinghamshire is being ignored.

“I would say that if it is good enough for the people of Surrey then it is good enough for the people of Nottinghamshire. Favouring another County Council is totally unacceptable, unfair and unjust. Our council and the people of Nottinghamshire quite frankly deserve better than how the Conservative Government is treating us.

“It’s time Theresa May stopped appeasing out of control Tory Council Leaders and recognised the need to provide the funding our services here in Nottinghamshire so desperately need.”

Surrey County Council leader David Hodge denies a deal has been struck with the government.