Isabel Hardman has been investigating the social care issue in Surrey for the Spectator in recent days. Yesterday, she spoke to the man whose texts Jeremy Corbyn quoted at PMQs today, the leader of Surrey County Council, David Hodge.
Isabel and Hodge spoke just after Tory-run Surrey County Council had made the decision not to hold a referendum on a 15 per cent council tax increase to pay for social care. He told Isabel that ‘we have always believed that there was a way forward which wouldn’t involve a council tax referendum and I genuinely believe that the government now understands the scale of the crisis’. Hodge seems to think that from the Prime Minister down, the government is now taking the issue more seriously, ‘I think that the government are listening and the Prime Minister understands. I’m a lot more confident that I believe that I see a more open honest conversation taking place at a local and national government level’.
Hodge also hinted at the government trying to come up with a national solution to the social care problem: 'I think like all of these things I think this is a national issue while the government has put in all of these things the precept of three per cent. I think the government is also clear that there is an issue and everyone in the industry knows that there is an issue’. We now wait to see whether there is anything on social care in Philip Hammond’s Budget, which he’ll deliver in a month’s time.