The Liberal Democrats on Surrey County Council have voted against the Tory administration's budget for 2010/11 at County Hall. Leader of the Liberal Democrats Cllr Hazel Watson said: "I support the 2.5% level of Council Tax increase proposed for the Council. Many Surrey residents are struggling to pay their bills during the economic downturn and therefore the Council Tax needs to be set as low as possible whilst allowing for adequate funding for services. I oppose, however, the content of the budget proposed by the Conservative administration as it does the opposite of what Surrey residents want."
Cllr Watson continued: "The Conservative budget cuts services that Surrey residents regard as vitally important. The services set to be reduced include road maintenance, bus services, the youth service and social care services for children and adults. These cuts are simply unacceptable."
She added: "Surrey residents expect the poor condition of the roads to be improved, not be allowed to deteriorate. Many people have already protested about the planned cuts to public bus services and school bus services, as lots of residents rely on them and because buses help to reduce traffic congestion on Surrey's roads."
"The cuts to the youth service will mean fewer activities for young people, when Surrey residents have been asking for more activities to be provided."
"The Budget also includes reductions in respite care for families of children with disabilities to support them in their caring role. This is a backward step as more not less respite care is desperately needed."
"The Budget also proposes increasing charges for services to disabled people when they are often on low incomes and can least afford to pay. It is wrong to place these additional costs on disabled people."
Cllr Watson concluded: "All in all, this budget cuts important front line services and yet it does not go far enough to reduce the bureaucracy and to make the County Council efficient. The cuts should fall on administration and back office functions, to protect vital services that Surrey residents need."