The Leader to make a statement.
There will be an opportunity for Members to ask questions and/or make comments.
The Leader made a detailed statement. A copy of the statement is attached as Appendix A.
Trefor Hogg arrived at 10.18 am
Michaela Martin, Catherine Powell and Joanne Sexton arrived at 10.31 am
Members raised the following topics:
· That the Spending Review 2021 must inject new funding to address the funding issues within adult social care so the burden does not fall on the public through: the Council Tax adult social care precept, long-term efficiencies and the rise in National Insurance through the Health and Social Care Levy; the Council must lobby Surrey’s Members of Parliament (MPs) and publicise the issues.
· That an open and transparent debate concerning the County Deal was needed between the Council and Surrey’s eleven Borough and District Councils, working with residents to find practical solutions.
· That an urgent review of the system, to be implemented immediately, was needed to address the issues within Children’s Services, resolving cases and putting families first.
· Highlighted that the Leader did not mention the cost of living crisis, which would worsen with the increase in National Insurance and would affect poorer and younger residents, as well as the twenty pounds cut to Universal Credit from fifty-five thousand Surrey residents and rising food and energy costs; the Council must lobby the Government.
· Noted the sixty-two public consultations on Surrey Says and that not one was on the County Deal which the Leader should implement.
· Congratulated the Leader in relation to the Council joining the UK100 Climate Network in July concerning to the transition to clean energy and net zero carbon emissions.
· Sought assurance that the Council was committed to reframing its economic priorities to align with its climate goals for 2025 and 2030, in detailing the Greener Futures Climate Change Delivery Plan for 2021 – 2025 (Delivery Plan) the one Surrey growth and greener futures plans must be aligned into a single plan for Surrey.
· That the Council’s ambition for a strong economy must not conflict with the move towards a green economy, the Council must take a stand against aviation expansion whilst decarbonising Surrey.
· Hoped that the new Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, the Member of Parliament (MP) for Surrey Heath, might positively affect the role of local planning in Surrey, asked the Leader to request an answer from Rt Hon Michael Gove MP as to the delivery of the promise not to build on greenbelt land and to request the mandating of climate change responsibilities to the Council matched with the funds and powers enabling the Council to deliver a new county-wide green deal for Surrey.
· That the Leader did not refer to public transport in his statement, asked whether the Leader recognised that the improvement of public transport was essential for levelling up to prevent the younger, older and vulnerable residents from being left behind.
· Asked whether the Leader was aware that the details concerning the Health and Social Care Levy Bill would not be announced until April 2022, that any interim payments would not be paid directly to the Council, that the Levy would not be effective until October 2023; therefore payment was several years away.
· Supported the Leader’s proposals for more powers to be devolved to Surrey through a County Deal, enabling economic diversification and localised training; sought the Leader’s assurance that more powers granted would benefit the county and to recognise that it was beneficial for all to engage with the proposals.
· Queried whether the offer of subsidised taxis for officers to and from the nearby train stations to get to the Council’s offices at Woodhatch Place and Dakota was the best green and financial option particularly in light of the Council’s green ambitions noted in item 8: Original Motions, 8 (ii).
· That as exemplified by the cuts to Universal Credit, the poorest and most vulnerable in society were becoming increasingly irrelevant, with many working families under the taper rate paying a higher marginal tax rate than higher earners.
· Hoped that the Leader would agree that a mixed market system was the only way to provide essential care for those in residential care homes.
· That following the consultation on the future of eight residential care homes for older people in Surrey, sought the Leader’s assurance that the same number of beds in Surrey currently would be provided in the future.
· Noted the additional SAP system support fee of £700,000 payable in January 2022 as part of the £30 million Unit4 ERP project, asked whether there would be any additional cost to be funded by the Council Tax payer as a result of the project being delayed until April 2022.
· Highlighted the recent inquest into a child’s death by the coroner in relation to the negative provision in support provided by a Surrey special educational needs (SEN) school in Hindhead and sought assurance that all children were safe in such an environment.
David Harmer arrived at 10.45 am
Fiona Davidson arrived at 10.56 am