“Invest in recycling in Surrey, not a retail park in Loughborough”: Greens propose budget changes

As Councillors meet this week to decide on Surrey County Council’s budget, the Greens have come up with an alternative way of doing business.

Instead of accepting Government cuts, Surrey Greens are calling on the Tory majority on Surrey County Council to fight back.

“We should resist the cuts – Government funding for local Government across the country is completely inadequate,” said Green Cllr Jonathan Essex. “There’s no point complaining about how the cake has been cut up when it’s too small in the first place”.

The budget being considered by Councillors on 6th February result in cuts to services which support families, care for older and disabled people and prevent homelessness. This is despite a 6% proposed increase in council tax.

“Cutting is simply managed decline, and an abdication of responsibility. We need a long-term budget. Our position is that in spite of the cuts proposed, we still need to think long term. We should invest in transformation for the longer term now, and then save and pay less later,” said Cllr Essex.

The Greens also propose a new approach to future investment. Surrey County Council’s investment policy has meant it buying properties around the country for the income they will bring in.

“Instead we need to invest now in improving services in Surrey, which will reap benefits later,” said Cllr Essex.

Recommendations include:

  • Two new recycling centres, which will be able to cope with increases as we get better at reuse and recycling (instead of incinerators).
  • Investment in renewable energy and energy efficiency in publicly-owned buildings, especially schools, which will save money spent on energy.
  • LED lighting in buildings to replace standard lighting, which could provide a significant saving.
  • Improvements to highways which benefit cyclists and pedestrians, as well as the local economy.
  • A network of anaerobic digestion plants across the Thames Water sites in Surrey.
  • Review of procurement contracts to determine whether Surrey should bring services in-house, including care home contracts.

“The bottom line for the budget should be no cuts that disadvantage the vulnerable members of our community, together with investment in services which deliver what we need in Surrey as well as saving money and providing a more environmentally and financially sustainable future,” said Cllr Essex.

Read the Greens’ budget proposals

See the Council’s budget papers online

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