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Surrey County Council Chief Ripped For 'Redacting' Letter To MPs On 15% Council Tax U-Turn

'Tell me about the government’s commitment to transparency?'

09/02/2017 14:14

The council leader at the centre of a storm over Surrey’s 15% council tax rise u-turn was today ridiculed for appearing to redact large parts of a letter to MPs discussing the issue. 

David Hodge, the leader of Surrey County Council, was derided for publishing a heavily blanked-out document which talked about the area’s social care “funding crisis”. 

It was revealed on the BBC’s Daily Politics show by a Labour councillor, Robert Evans. He complained the redacted letter was proof there was “no openness” over why the council suddenly dropped a referendum on raising council tax by 15%. 

Andrew Neil, presenting, mockingly asked whether the letter was subject to a D-notice for national security reasons. 

Here’s how the conversation went:  

Tory MP Kwasi Kwarteng, a Surrey MP who was appearing on the programme and had read the full letter, said that from his recollection it contained “no state secrets”. 

Leaving Andrew Neil to quip back: “Tell me about the government’s commitment to transparency?”

Kwarteng responded he would not answer on behalf of Surrey’s council leader.

HuffPost UK contacted Hodge with a request for comment, but none was received.

The government came under fire this week after leaked texts from Hodge suggested ministers had struck a special secret “sweetheart deal” with Surrey Council to pay for social care.

The day earlier, Surrey abandoned it’s plan to hold a local referendum on raising council tax by 15% to pay for a shortfall in funding. The council approved a rise of just below 5% instead.

Downing Street has denied Surrey received “extra money”. 

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