This is the letter by 62 Labour council leaders and elected mayors to Theresa May seeking assurances that whatever “deal” offered to Surrey county council to fund social care will be offered to all local authorities.
We are writing regarding funding arrangements for Conservative-run Surrey county council. Specifically, the alleged reason behind David Hodge’s decision to drop a planned referendum on increasing council tax by 15 per cent to cover the severe shortfalls in social care, after apparently holding ‘several conversations’ with Whitehall figures.
It has been widely reported in leaked texts, sent by David Hodge supposedly intended for Nick King, Sajid Javid’s special advisor, that DCLG was working on a Memorandum of Understanding.
In response, as leaders of Labour councils and council groups, we have a series of questions:
a) Was a deal struck for Surrey County Council?
b) If so, what are the details of the deal?
c) Why was a special deal struck with Surrey behind closed doors?
d) Does the government finally recognise that local government is grossly underfunded and is that why they have given a special deal to Surrey?
e) Does the government now recognise that there will be a £2.6bn shortfall in social care funding by 2020?
f) If a deal was struck, will ministers offer the same deal given to Surrey to all councils, regardless of political affiliation, when the local government finance settlement is published on 22nd February?
We have a crisis in social care, resulting from the Conservative government’s cuts to local authority funding. Secret backroom deals are not the answer. We urgently need a proper solution, which means providing councils with the funding they needed to solve this crisis.
Given the public interest in this matter we will be publishing this letter.
Barrie Grunewald St Helen’s Council
Mohammed Butt Brent Council
Richard Watts Islington Council
Stewart Young Cumbria County Council
Simon Henig Durham County Council
Nick Forbes Newcastle City Council
Lewis Herbert Cambridge City Council
Peter Martland Milton Keynes Council
Warren Morgan Brighton & Hove City Council
Jaz Athwal Redbridge Council
Sharon Taylor Stevenage Council
Simon Greaves Bassetlaw Council
Peter John Southwark Council
Sam Dixon Cheshire West and Chester Council
Steven Brady Hull City Council
Iain Malcolm South Tyneside Council
Ray Oxby North East Lincolnshire Council
David Budd Middlesborough Council
Jean Stretton Oldham Council
Simon Letts Southampton Council
Sue Jeffrey Redcar and Cleveland Council
Doug Taylor Enfield Council
Susan Hinchcliffe Bradford Council
Mark Townsend Burnley District Council
Hazel Simmons Luton Council
Alan Rhodes Nottinghamshire County Council
Claire Kober Harringey Council
Peter Box Wakefield Council
Christopher Akers-Belcher Hartlepool Council
Richard Leese Manchester City Council
Judith Blake Leeds City Council
Bob Price Oxford Council
Tom Beattie Corby Council
Sachin Shah Harrow Council
Bob Cook Stockton Council
John Clancy Birmingham City Council
Julian Bell Ealing Council
Julie Dore Sheffield City Council
Steve Bullock Lewisham Council
Shaun Davies Telford & Wrekin Council
Terry O’Neill Warrington Council
Stephen Lydon Stroud Council
Phil Davies Wirral Council
Alexander Ganotis Stockport Council
Steve Eling Sandwell Council
Sarah Hayward Camden Council
Peter Lamb Crawley Council
Simon Blackburn Blackpool Council
Steve Houghton Barnsley Council
Jon Collins Nottingham City Council
Robin Wales Newham Council
Alistair Bradley Chorley Council
Stephen Alambritis Merton Council
Darren Rodwell Barking and Dagenham Council
Ian Maher Sefton Council
Ros Jones Doncaster Council
Roger Lawrence Wolverhampton Council
Martin Gannon Gateshead Council
Tim Swift Calderdale Council
Cliff Morris Bolton Council
Pete Lowe Dudley Council
Tony Newman Croydon Council
Kieran Quinn Tameside Council
Anne Western Derbyshire County Council