Is Surrey’s ‘sweetheart deal’ hidden in social care funding allocation?

The Surrey county council leader, David Hodge, said he had secured a ‘gentleman’s agreement’ with the government [Image: Surrey County Council/PA].

The Department for Communities and Local Government is insisting that there is nothing dodgy about the fact that Surrey will receive an increasing proportional of new money for social care funding, announced in the Budget.

It’s allocated in the same way as the Better Care Fund, a spokesperson said, raising questions about the way that particular pot is shared out.

Meanwhile, Labour’s Andy Burnham is to write to the Cabinet Secretary, the UK’s most senior civil servant, demanding an investigation into the whole affair, including whether the ministerial code has been broken.

The code demands that public office-holders are required, by duty, to be honest in all their dealings and business.

It seems clear that the Tory government has been busy doing everything it can to find a way of justifying increased funding for Tory Surrey – at the expense of all other counties in the UK.

One wonders whether the Cabinet Secretary will try to dismiss the call for an investigation out-of-hand, giving raise to accusations against the civil service itself, or actually have the guts to start in inquiry that could cast the whole government into disrepute.

As far as This Writer is concerned, the Tories – and PM Theresa May in particular – look as guilty as the proverbial “puppy sitting next to a pile of poo”.

Philip Hammond’s budget has handed the largest boost in social care funding to Surrey council, according to calculations made after government ministers were accused of reaching a “sweetheart deal” with the Tory-led authority.

Analysis by Labour shows that out of the £2bn of new money for social care in England announced in Wednesday’s budget, Surrey will see the biggest increase in the share of funding by the 2019/20 financial year.

The analysis says that Surrey will get 1.66% of the money, rising from 0.75% in 2017/18, an increase of 0.91 percentage points in the three-year period – more than double the increase of the second council, Hertfordshire.

Theresa May has repeatedly denied Surrey will receive any form of funding not available to other local authorities, after the council last month called off a planned referendum on increasing council tax by 15% to pay for what it said was a crisis in social care funding.

But soon after the postponement, leaked text messages about a supposed “memorandum of understanding” between the council and government prompted Jeremy Corbyn to accuse May of buying off Surrey with a special deal, which she denied.

The Labour leader reiterated the accusation this week after the release of an audio recording in which the council leader, David Hodge, told fellow Surrey Conservatives about a “gentleman’s agreement” with ministers.

Source: Surrey council received boost in budget after ‘sweetheart deal’ claims | Society | The Guardian

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3 thoughts on “Is Surrey’s ‘sweetheart deal’ hidden in social care funding allocation?

  1. NMac

    This is an extremely important matter of principle. Is there no legal action that can be taken to force them to disclose the true facts?

  2. casalealex

    Surrey Tory Heartlands’ – usual suspects

    Sir Paul Beresford MP – Mr Crispin Blunt MP – Mr Michael Gove MP – Mr Chris Grayling MP – Mr Sam Gyimah MP – Mr Philip Hammond MP – Mr Jeremy Hunt MP – Mr Kwasi Kwarteng MP – Jonathan Lord MP – Anne Milton MP – Mr Dominic Raab MP

Comments are closed.