Over the last few years, under Conservative Leadership, Woking Borough Council has been on a massive spending spree. According to the last set of accounts the Council has long term loans totalling £1.5 Billion and is committed to £3.8 Billion in loan repayments and interest over the next 50 years.
In the last year we have seen councils such as Croydon, which has a similar level of borrowing being forced into Special Measures because it could not meet its payment commitments. Slough Council recently declared itself bankrupt when an over estimation of income from a joint venture was revealed.
Dr Gifty Edila, in reviewing the proposed Westfield development in Woking, highlighted that Woking Council had been secretive about the extent of contractual commitments.
"We believe that local people deserve the complete picture on Council finances," said Liberal Democrat Leader Cllr Ann-Marie Barker. "Liberal Democrats made a commitment to a full financial review in our election manifesto. Despite not running the Council, we are putting forward proposals for a review of council finances."
At the next Council meeting Liberal Democrats will call for an independent auditor to produce a Statement of Affairs. This should cover all Council activities, including those of all companies in which the Council has an interest. It should show all the liabilities, net realisable value of all the assets and the contractual commitments the Council has made which will affect the Council's finances in the future.
"If the Statement of Affairs shows that the Council can meet its financial commitments it will be great to have that assurance" points out Cllr Barker. "If there is uncertainty, we need to know that too. There must be a proactive plan to manage any risks and the Liberal Democrats want to contribute constructively and put the Council in the best long-term and sustainable position to meet the challenges ahead" said Cllr Barker.
The local Lib Dems have called on Surrey County Council to stand up to the Government over its failure to deliver the previously promised reform of the social care system.
Lib Dem Councillors have tabled a motion to the County Council's next meeting on 13th July demanding that the Council continues to put pressure on the Government and Surrey's MPs to honour their pledge to tackle the crisis in social care.
The Lib Dems shock triumph in the Chesham and Amersham by-election would see some 154 seats across the country flip to the party after they sent shockwaves through the Tory blue wall.
The Lib Dems gained a 25% swing in Chesham and Amersham electing their 12th MP Sarah Green.
Woking would be one of 154 constituencies that would turn Lib Dem at an election. The 25% swing in Chesham and Amersham has put blue wall seats like Woking "on notice" with Lib Dems locally being the leading opposition to the Conservatives.
Schools across Surrey are set to lose £1.1 million in funding for the most disadvantaged pupils in the county following the Government's decision to alter the method of calculating pupil premium funding.
The pupil premium, which aims to close the attainment gap by providing extra money to pupils eligible for free school meals, was a flagship reform introduced by the Lib Dems in Government in 2011.
This Carers Week, the Liberal Democrats are calling on the Government to provide emergency funding to give carers a break from dramatically increased caring responsibilities during the Covid pandemic.
More than 108,400 people in Surrey are looking after elderly, disabled or vulnerable people. Data from Carers UK shows 64% of carers have not been able to take any sort of a break during the pandemic.
Lib Dem Will Forster has written to Jonathan Lord, Woking's Conservative MP, urging them not to break their election commitment on international development spending by voting to abandon the UK's 0.7% of GNI target in a potential vote on 7th June.
In the 2019 General Election, Tory MPs including Woking's MP stood on a manifesto promise to "proudly maintain our commitment to spend 0.7 per cent of GNI on development".
The Lib Dems are calling for all EU citizens in the UK to be given the automatic right to stay as new figures reveal that 3,580 living in Surrey and 540 in Woking are still waiting for the Home Office to process their applications - with just five weeks to go before the Government's deadline.
The latest EU Settlement Scheme statistics show that as of the end of March, there have been 80,8880 applications from people living in Surrey, with 77,300 of these having been concluded.
The Lib Dem Group on Surrey County Council has elected Will Forster as its new Group Leader.
Will Forster, County Councillor for Woking South, was recently chosen as the new Leader of the Lib Dem Group on Surrey County Council at a meeting between members. He succeeds Councillor Chris Botten, who narrowly lost his seat in the recent election.
Across Woking, Liberal Democrats had an amazing election result this May. We gained 3 seats on Woking Borough Council and 1 seat on Surrey County Council, from the Conservatives.
Lance Spencer gained the Goldsworth East and Horsell Village County seat, defeating the Deputy Leader of the County Council in the process.
On the Borough Council, Will Forster held his seat in Hoe Valley, Ann-Marie Barker held her Goldsworth Park seat and Liberal Democrats gained the Horsell, Mount Hermon and St John's wards. Congratulations to newly elected Councillors Adam Kirby, Ellen Nicholson and Dale Roberts. The new councillors join a strong Liberal Democrat team, with a fantastic mix of experience and skills. It was disappointing to lose Cllr Chrystie who had contributed so much to both the Council
Liberal Democrats won 5 out of the 10 seats up for election, to the Conservatives' 4 and 1 for Labour. Following the election, Woking Council is now on a knife-edge, with 13 Tories, 12 Lib Dems, 3 Labour and 2 Independents. Liberal Democrats have made gains in every local election since 2018. If these results are repeated at next year's election, the Liberal Democrats will become the largest party.
On Surrey County Council Liberal Democrats made 5 gains, resulting in the largest Lib Dem Group there since the 1997 elections. Although the Tories still have a majority, it is a majority of 6, notably reduced.
In the Police and Crime Commissioner election Liberal Democrat Paul Kennedy came a good second to the Conservative.
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