Pro capitalist and Imperialist keywords:
Reject Surrey's 15% council tax increase
Paul Couchman, Staines Socialist Party
Surrey's Tory council wants residents to fork out a whopping 15% council tax rise to pay for the crisis in social care. Because the proposed hike breaches government limits, it can only pass if residents back it in a local referendum.
Council tax is a regressive tax which hits the poorest hardest. The average annual bill in Surrey will, if this goes through, rise by around £230.
It is wrong to pass the buck onto working class people through a system which allows millionaires in mansions to get away with paying very little.
Yes - adult social care is in crisis nationally. Cuts and privatisation have driven this, alongside the Tory government robbing local authorities year on year. In Surrey, the annual grant has been cut by £170 million since 2010.
One Surrey Tory MP told Sky News that the county's MPs had been trying to broker a deal with the government, but talks had failed. The MP said: "They'll hold a referendum, lose, and then use it as a cover to cut services."
The fact that a Tory council in the flagship county of Surrey is finding it impossible to balance the books is yet another example of the splits and disarray within the Tory party.
It is particularly embarrassing for the government because Surrey includes the constituencies of Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, Chancellor Philip Hammond and other leading Tory MPs.
If Corbyn's Labour and the unions called for no-cuts budgets and the reversal of all cuts and sell-offs, they could drive a wedge into the Tory party's cracks. They would get a ready echo from working class people living and working in the shires.
There may be some who will say we have to support this to protect the services we rely on. But this would be a mistake. Even if the referendum returns a 'yes' vote, which is extremely unlikely, a 15% hike would still just be a sticking plaster over a gaping wound.
The local Socialist Party says to the Surrey Tories: you have come to the end of the road. We call on anti-austerity campaigners and trade unionists to consider standing candidates in the county council elections in May, against cuts and regressive tax hikes.
The election charter of Save Our Services in Surrey would be a good starting point.
- Read the charter at sosis.org.uk/election-charter
Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777
Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206
Regional Socialist Party organisers:
Eastern: 0798 202 1969
East Mids: 0773 797 8057
London: 020 8988 8786
North East: 0191 421 6230
North West 07769 611 320
South East: 020 8988 8777
South West: 07759 796 478
Southern: 07833 681910
Wales: 07935 391 947
West Mids: 02476 555 620
Yorkshire: 0114 264 6551