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Latest News

  • Pumpkins
    Article: Oct 25, 2020

    A recent poll of 3,000 adults in the UK, carried out by the food charity Hubbub, revealed that of the 24m pumpkins likely to be bought this October, around half will be carved but the flesh not used. Hubbub has warned this will add to the UK's mountain of avoidable food waste.

    There are plenty of ways in which we can all do our part to have a greener halloween and we want to encourage everyone to not throw away the innards of your pumpkins. We understand that this year has been a tough one and while we want people to take every opportunity to celebrate, it is important that we also bear in mind our environmental commitments at the same time.

  • LibDems at County Hall
    Article: Oct 16, 2020

    Following a motion by the Lib Dems, Surrey County Council unanimously agreed to introduce 'school streets' in Surrey with the aim of encouraging active travel, improving air quality and promoting road safety.

    A school street is where the road outside a school is closed to motor vehicles during school drop-off and pick-up times except for those residents living in that street.

  • LibDems at County Hall
    Article: Oct 15, 2020

    At County Council yesterday, Surrey's Leader, Cllr Tim Oliver ensured his group voted against the Lib Dem motion calling for a much-needed reconciliation with the Boroughs and Districts with whom a relationship of trust had completely broken down. In his speech the Lib Dem Leader Cllr Chris Botten outlined how the recent perceived 'power grab' by the county council, by unilaterally pursuing its ambition of a single unitary authority, had severely damaged relations with the eleven borough and district councils of all colours, who had been side-lined by their action.

  • Don Whyte 2019
    Article: Oct 1, 2020
    By Don Whyte - Group Leader, Runnymede Liberal Democrats

    Is it that the Conservative administration are concerned with having to actually do something about Climate Change, and addressing environmental issues? Or is it simply the fact that the Conservative Party do not get Climate Change? This Governments' target of 2050 for being carbon neutral suggests a bit of both.

  • Surrey Boroughs and Districts
    Article: Aug 31, 2020

    The Tory administration at Surrey County Council have proposed, to Boris Johnson's government, the creation of one single 'Monster Surrey' local authority in Surrey. The idea is described as 'revolutionary' (their language) by the Tories and it would be the end of all eleven borough/district councils, including Runnymede Borough Council. Instead they would be merged into Surrey County Council, creating a behemoth of 1.2m residents.

    Liberal Democrats regard this as a shameless power grab by the Conservatives in Surrey, as well as nationally. Having lost their majority in several Surrey boroughs, it's seen as a Tory tactic of trying to stay in control by centralising political power even more than is already the case.

    The 'financially distressed' Surrey is trying to sell the idea of a single Surrey-wide mega council to residents as a way of saving money by making things simpler. But in Runnymede the Lib Dems question whether the Tory scheme is just a guise for robbing our 'piggy bank' as our own finances in the Runnymede Borough Council are robust.

    Liberal Democrats are all for streamlining and economising local government by establishing unitary authorities. But the answer is not in a bloated and wasteful bureaucracy, where residents' needs are compromised and the promised savings evaporate in pursuit of the Tories' ruthless drive for more centralised control.

    Here are five good reasons why we must oppose the Tory plan to create a 'Monster Surrey' authority. Instead we should seek to establish three or four reasonably sized unitary authorities, which are responsive to resident's needs and service-minded in their operations. What's more, being nimble in size and culture they would also save money, not waste it in inefficient bureaucracy.

    Reasons why we should oppose the Tory plan for a single mega-size Surrey authority:

    #1 Surrey residents have been ambushed

    The Tory administration at Surrey County Council has ambushed Surrey's residents by charging ahead with a single 'monster authority' proposal without asking for our opinion. We must insist on a proper and orderly consultation before Boris Johnson with his cabinet of yes-men get to impose the plan on us.

    #2 Financial estimates pie in the sky

    The Tory proposals promise lots of 'back of the envelope' savings by creating one elephantine local authority in Surrey. These are pie in the sky ideas based on estimates by politicians and designed to sell the plan quickly with a 'sign here now' tactic. Caveat emptor (buyer beware) is a sensible reaction to this 'high pressure' sales approach.

    #3 The voice of local people will be marginalised

    A single council of 1.2 million people would be too remote and even more unaccountable as is already the case with Surrey County Council. With all decision-making concentrated in just a few hands for the entire county, the voice of local communities and people will be marginalised and sidelined.

    #4 Surrey have mismanaged their existing services

    Surrey County Council are incompetent and wasteful at managing services as is, let alone coping with the mega-sized bureaucracy required for the whole of Surrey. Would you trust them to do it well? Just check out their poor track record in Fire Services, children's services, roads with potholes, ongoing cuts to social care, mental health and disability services. And yet their management costs remain among the highest of any county council in the country.

    #5 A politically motivated manoeuvre at our residents' expense

    You have to ask why the Tory administration at Surrey County Council and their sponsors in Boris Johnson's Conservative cabinet have decided to embark on 'revolutionising' (their language) our local government in the middle of the worst ever pandemic and with a prospective no-deal Brexit round the corner? What's more they are rushing to do it without any regard for the views and preferences of Surrey's residents. It's nothing but a politically motivated manoeuvre at our residents' expense.

    A better alternative

    Liberal Democrats believe that three or four unitary authorities in Surrey would strike the right balance in terms of democratic accountability, quality of services and value for money. The key principle in any re-organisation of local government must be put to our residents first.