Taxing question for Surrey’s private schools

Epsom College

Labour’s proposal to add VAT to private school fees has ignited a fierce debate in Surrey, home to numerous prestigious independent schools. The policy, aimed at generating £1.5 billion to improve state education, has drawn both sharp criticism and staunch support from local residents, educators, and politicians

One Surrey grandmother explained that her grandchildren go to private school and says she thought it is a “ridiculous” policy on “hard-working people”.

Labour has said that if it wins the general election it plans to remove tax exemptions that private schools enjoy, generating around £1.5billion. The most significant of these is scrapping VAT exemptions on private school fees.

Critics say taxing private schools does not hit the super rich but hurts middle-income parents. Cllr Kate Fairhurst (Conservative/ Reigate) said: “I am very concerned that Labour’s plans will punish families striving and investing for a better future for their children.”

Private schools could make cuts to absorb the added VAT cost, Labour Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer Rachel Reeves has said, so it is not passed on to parents.

Profoundly objecting, Roger Jones, a previous Conservative candidate for Dorking. said: “Private schools would have to axe a third of its [departments]”, causing the most affluent of pupils to move to other fee paying schools” or in the public sector. He added the suggestion of cuts as an option is rooted in the Labour’s envy of the privately educated.

With the money raised, Labour said it will improve standards in state schools by employing 6,500 teachers, improving schools and careers advice, as well as helping pay for mental health support staff in every secondary school.

Surrey has around 140 private schools: including primary, secondary and special schools. Fees vary between schools, but the cost of independent education in Surrey is above the national average.

They range from £18,975–£38,367 per year for day pupils and from £25,290–£47,535 per year for boarding. With an addition of 20% tax, this would hike the figures to £22,770- £46,040 annually for day pupils and £30,348- £57,042 for students at boarding schools. To those who can just about squeeze £18k for a year of schooling, the added VAT may make the private sector unaffordable.

“It would be a huge backward step for the county,” added Roger Jones He said: “Should Labour find themselves in government, then this policy will disadvantage every single child of school age and those yet to come.” He argued that taxing private schools would cost the state more than it is projected to generate as more children would move to the public school system.

One woman, who wished to remain anonymous, expressed concerns that the influx of previously private schooled children in the state sector could put strain on already struggling public schools. “Walloping private schools isn’t going to make the state schools better and the money raised will be a drop in the ocean compared to the financial needs of the sector,” she added.

Concerns were raised about the tax not affecting prestigious schools, like Eton, where the woman claimed the pupils are from very wealthy families. She said: “The imposition of 20% VAT won’t even begin to affect the attitude of [those] who are brought up by such schools to believe that they are superior to everyone else.”

Twenty-three-year-old Grace, who went to a comprehensive school in leafy Esher, said raising fees could increase elitism in private schools, making bullying and student dynamics worse. She said: “It’s no secret that private schools have a self-proclaimed elitist culture, and increasing VAT will mean the super rich will be more prolific in these schools.”

The vast majority of independent schools are classed as charities or non-profit making trusts. For-profit schools are not allowed in the UK so funds go towards running and improving schools.

Speaking to people on the doorstep, Guildford ’s Lib Dem candidate Zoe Franklin told the LDRS how a woman in Stoughton made “very careful and conscious spending decisions” to pay for a private school. She said the woman did not have foreign holidays and lived in a modest house to afford private schooling as they were unable to get into the local school of their choice that they felt would best support their child with special needs.

Labour’s policy would exempt private SEND schools Ms Franklin said: “It’s especially hard to hear people who say they feel they have to pay for private education for a child with SEND, because the right support just isn’t there in the state sector.”

Labour first announced this policy in its 2019 manifesto, under Jeremy Corbyn, but was brought back into the news limelight in 2023 by Keir Starmer. Worried parents started a Change.org petition against plans, attracting 145,446 signatures at the time of writing.

Starting in Berkshire, the petition argues parents who currently pay school fees on top of taxes used for school funding will be “adding to the state’s burden rather than opting to relieve it” by choosing an independent school. Critics have argued it is “reasonable” for a service provided by a business, like private schools, to be taxed in the same way as other goods and services. One person commented: “Both are voluntary choices when the state provides a free alternative.”

IPSOS polling, published November 2023, showed the majority of the public (57 per cent) support the Labour party’s proposal., with just under one in five (18 per cent) opposing the policy. Research found that even among 2019 Conservative voters, nearly half (47 per cent) support it, compared to a third (32 per cent) who oppose it.

Speaking on behalf of the party, Labour candidate for Reigate Stuart Brady said: “Introducing VAT on school fees is a tough choice being made against the backdrop of a very difficult economic and fiscal position Labour would inherit from the Tories. Labour wants to drive high and rising standards in all our schools, so that we can break down barriers to opportunity across our country.

“I’ve listened to stories from Reigate Constituents and am aware of the variety of economic and educational positions of those paying privately for education, including parents of children with additional needs. I know that most are not the super-rich. [But] Labour in government will spread opportunity to all parts of the country at every age and every stage.”

Non-political and all-political

Dear Editor,

It is good to see that, despite stepping down as a Borough Councillor, Vince Romagnuolo has lost none of his enthusiasm for historically partisan approach to local politics. Labelling Resident Association councillors closet Conservatives is nothing new. Vince and the Labour Party have never understood the concept of local volunteers whose national voting patterns are often diverse, but who come together in a non-ideological commitment to promote a shared view of localism, civic duty and what is right for all residents in Epsom and Ewell.

If only Vince knew the real national preferences of RA councillors, he might be surprised. Although I never discussed national political allegiances with my RA colleagues, it is sometimes not difficult to know them. There were and are councillors who nationally support the Labour Party, and at least one RA Councillor who was a Labour Party Councillor in another local authority.

So come on Vince, by all means criticise Residents Association councillors if you disapprove of their policies, but please don’t use labels and unfounded accusations of national party-political bias to explain the clear voting preferences of residents, the long absence of Conservative councillors, and the actions of Epsom and Ewell MPs over the last 87 years.

With all good wishes

County Councillor Eber Kington

Residents Association Ewell Court, Auriol and Cuddington

[Ed: A right of reply was warranted but we now draw this particular debate to a close on our pages.]

Redrawing Surrey’s political map – literally

Proposed Surrey County boundaries (Credit contains Ordnance Survey data Crown copyright and database rights 2024)

Major boundary changes could see some Surrey residents change wards for the next local elections in a redrawing of the political map of the county.

Council wards in Surrey are to increase by over 1,000 residents per councillor by 2029 in new county boundaries which have been drawn up.

Around 70% of ward boundaries will change as the Local Government Boundary Commission estimates an increase of nearly 90,000 people who are reigstered to vote.

The commission says the new layout – which would retain the 81 elected councillors we have today – would help the council to carry out its functions more effectively as it would even out the populations within each division.

The commission is the independent body which draws these boundaries based on community ties, similar electorate numbers and which facilities (e.g parks, leisure centres) it makes sense for people to share.

Varying levels of public consultation on draft proposals took place between February 2023 and March 2024.

Professor Colin Mellors, Chair of the Commission, said: “We are very grateful to people in Surrey. We looked at all the views they gave us. They helped us improve our earlier proposals. We believe the new arrangements will deliver electoral fairness while maintaining local ties.”

Recommendations from the Commission cannot affect the Surrey county’s external boundaries, or result in changes to postcodes. It does not have an effect on local taxes, house prices, or car and house insurance premiums. However, it may affect which ward someone is in. 

The Commission is required by law to consider not the number of households, but the number of electors within each division. For instance, residents suggested East and West Molesey should be combined in a single council ward division. However, such a division covering the two borough wards of Molesey West and Molesey East would have 36% more electors than average.  it was therefore not accepted because it would have a disproportionate number of eligible voters compared to other wards.

County councils elect its members once every four years. Surrey’s next election is taking place in 2025. Currently, the Conservatives are the largest group with 49 councillors out of a total 81 seats. There are also 16 Liberal Democrats, two Green Party, two Labour (and Co-operative) councillors, four Independents, and 13 from different resident associations and groups.

Changes to ward boundaries will be made so each councillor represents roughly the same number of electors. Recommendations are based on how many electors (ie people registered to vote) there are “likely” to be in five years after the publication of the Committee’s proposal.

Approximately 876,454 eligible voters lived in the county in 2022, averaging at 10,820 electors per councillor. The Commission estimates this number will increase by nearly 90,000 by 2029: Around 964,825 Surrey electors will be divided up to roughly 11,911 residents for each councillor. Just 24 ward boundaries out of 81 will stay the same.

Over 900 comments were made by people and organisations to help decide the new divisions. Changes in response to what local people said include altering the divisions in rural areas of Guildford, in response to fresh evidence on the ‘community identity’. 

For example, the village and civil parish of Ash was seen as more urban than rural, consequently moving out of the Worplesdon division and into Shalford. Additionally, Jacobs Well village was reviewed as having stronger community identity and rural connections with Worplesdon parish rather than neighbouring areas of Guildford.”

The Commission opted against having two councillors representing one ward in the Elmbridge borough as SCC argued that larger divisions had the potential to “dilute democratic accountability”. The Molesey Residents’ Association said locals would find a two-member division confusing and that councillors might have difficulty representing a division on this scale.”

The changes become law once Parliament has approved them. Staff at the council will ensure that the arrangements are in place for the 2025 elections.

Review and report: https://www.lgbce.org.uk/all-reviews/surrey

Image: Proposed Surrey County boundaries (Credit contains Ordnance Survey data Crown copyright and database rights 2024)

Up to 2003 MPs happy no Conservatives on Epsom and Ewell Council

Dear Editor,

I note with interest the letter from Mr Kington “Epsom and Ewell was the first Conservative free Council” outlining the dire electoral fortunes of the Conservative Party in Epsom & Ewell. But he doesn’t tell the full story. 

With the odd exception, despite sporadic efforts by eccentric Tory candidates, it is true that it is only since 2003 that the Tories have made a concerted effort to gain seats on the council. The truth is that successive Tory MPs for the area seemed quite happy with the composition of the council due to the fact that, on the whole, the ruling group was made up of small ‘C’ conservatives and in some cases, card carrying Conservative and UKIP members. 

It was during the Labour government, with local government being property funded, that they embarked on a spending spree with taxpayers money. But they gleefully reverted to type when the austerity obsessed Tory/Lib Dem coalition government came to power in 2010 that budgets were slashed following Tory edicts. 

Yours faithfully,

Vince Romagnuolo

Former Epsom & Ewell Borough Councillor, 1999-2007, 2015-2019

Green view of Mole Valley elections

Dear Editor,

In Mole Valley national issues probably mostly impacted the main parties who lost support. However these local election results will be of little significance in the forthcoming General Election in Epsom and Ewell constituency for several reasons.

Firstly only a small area of Mole Valley falls within the parliamentary constituency of Epsom and Ewell, namely Ashtead and Leatherhead. While these two areas will be very important to our campaign in the General Election there did appear to be some tactical or protest voting in the local elections in
Mole Valley as there was no great change in turnout. In Leatherhead Liberal Democrats were elected with a similar vote compared with 2023 despite their record of supporting development in the Green Belt.

The Green Party targeted resources in the Dorking area of Mole Valley in order to maintain a previous strong showing there. Secondly, as local elections did not take place for the Epsom Borough Council
area the bulk of voters in the Epsom and Ewell constituency were not able to express their choices at the ballot box.

Nevertheless the threat to the Green Belt will be one of the key issues in the General Election in Epsom and Ewell as a whole so voters will have a genuine opportunity to test candidates about this particular matter, which is of great priority for the Green Party, including in Ashtead and Leatherhead where we
will be actively campaigning to galvanise our support there.

Finally, whilst votes were quite well dispersed across different parties in the local elections in Mole Valley there will be even more parties standing in the General Election in Epsom and Ewell including the Green Party. The share of the vote will also probably be quite dispersed as a result in the General Election and in this scenario tactical voting will be of limited benefit. In such circumstances voters will be well advised to vote for policies they believe in, as a surprise result is quite likely.

Stephen McKenna

Prospective Parliamentary Candidate Green Party Epsom and Ewell

Epsom and Ewell was the first Conservative free Council

Dear Editor,

I refer to your article on the May local elections headed “First Surrey Borough with no Conservative Councillors” and which includes the comment that “The result makes it [Woking] the first council in Surrey not to have a single Conservative councillor.”  However, that is certainly not the case.

From 1937, when the Borough of Epsom and Ewell was created, and until 2003 (66 years), the Conservative Party was only represented on the Borough Council twice (and by a very small number of councillors).  Since 2003 the Conservative Party has maintained a constant presence, but never larger than four in number and it is currently languishing at two.

Whilst I don’t wish to diminish the historical importance of the Conservative Party’s demise in Woking, they have had to face regular failures at the ballot box in Epsom and Ewell ever since George VI became King.

Yours faithfully,

Eber Kington

Residents Association County Councillor Ewell Court, Auriol and Cuddington

[Mr Kington is an Honorary Alderman of the Borough of Epsom and Ewell and served as Borough Councillor for many years.]

Two horse race coming to Epsom?

Helen Maguire and Mhairi Fraser on two horses

The Liberal Democrats continue to tighten their grip on Epsom & Ewell’s southern flank in Mole Valley, as the Party cements its position in Leatherhead. With two out of three seats in Leatherhead South now in the hands of the Lib Dems, the Conservatives are now down to just two seats in the whole of the Mole Valley district.

According to the Lib Dem PPC the general election stage in the wider Epsom & Ewell constituency is now set for a two horse race between the Liberal Democrat’s Helen Maguire and the Conservative Mhairi Fraser.

Commenting on the recent Mole Valley Council elections results Helen Maguire said, “Each month we are knocking on 1000s of doors and hearing from residents who are understandably upset with the way this government is running this country. They are looking for a change. With the boundary changes, Labour declaring the seat a non-battleground seat and the Liberal Democrats now having more councillors than the Conservatives across the country, we know there is a good chance of change here in Epsom, Ewell, Ashtead & Leatherhead.”

Mhairi Fraser, the Conservative Prospective Parliamentary Candidate responded: “Although the results were not what we had hoped or worked hard for, I am incredibly proud of the integrity our local Conservative candidates showed. We ran an honest campaign focusing on what the Conservatives will continue to fight for on behalf of local residents, without resorting to attacking our individual opponents on the doorsteps or in our literature. I wish the new and re-elected councillors well in the term ahead, but the Conservatives will continue to be the loudest voice against the Liberal Democrats’ plans to forever destroy our Green Belt, and to plaster tower blocks over the green spaces in our towns.”

Mark Todd, Chair of the Epsom and Ewell Labour Party said: “”As a rule of thumb, Epsom town centre and the north of Epsom and Ewell are strong for Labour, as you move South the areas become more Conservative. We were very heartened therefore by the results in Leatherhead at the local elections. It was the first year Leatherhead has been part of the Epsom and Ewell Constituency and we fielded fantastic local candidates who live and work in the area. We got really good feedback on the doorstep and the Labour vote across Leatherhead increased by 73%. A similar swing will see us win the Epsom and Ewell constituency in the upcoming General Election.”

The Labour Party is yet to select a Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for the constituency. Epsom and Ewell Times has been informed that National Labour Party managers are conducting due diligence on all prospective MPs. Once they have completed this, they will give the Epsom and Ewell Labour Party a shortlist for local member’s consideration.

Local Council elections in Mole Valley in Leatherhead, which will be within the recently changed boundaries of the Parliamentary Constutuency of Epsom and Ewell, produced two Liberal Democrat victories on 2nd May. In Leatherhead North Benjamin Wear secured 671 votes with the Conservative candidate Alan Gibbs trailing with 327 votes. In Leatherhead South Gareth Parsons gained 970 votes against Conservative Tim Hall getting 714 votes.

Wards in Ashtead also went to the polls and returned independent candidates with healthy majorities.

2019 General Election result:

Related reports:

Conservatives adopt new contender for Parliament

LibDem PPC awarded Medal by the King

Grayling not to contest a seventh election

Opposition unite against division of opposition

First Surrey Borough with no Conservative Councillors

Background to Image: Gordon Ednie  License details. Heads added by Epsom and Ewell Times.

First Surrey Borough with no Conservative Councillors

Woking Council

The Conservatives have been wiped out in Woking after voters handed the Liberal Democrats a huge mandate. The final tally tightened the Lib Dems grip on power giving them 24 seats, up four from last year’s election – and left the Tories with none and Labour with just one seat on the bankrupt local authority. The remaining five seats are held by independents.

The Conservatives came into the day holding just four of the council’s 30 seats but they failed to hold on to any as ward after ward continued to punish the party  – which as recently as 2021 had been the borough’s largest group.

The result makes it the first council in Surrey not to have a single Conservative councillor and serves as a major warning to the party of a difficult road ahead in the upcoming general election.

Josh Brown, the former Conservative councillor who lost his seat in the Byfleet and Byfleet West ward said: “The Woking Conservatives will continue to hold the Liberal Democrats,  Independent and Labour on the council to account with regards to increases in council tax and increased borrowing.”

He would later add: “People of Woking have clearly had their say and we respect that, but the process going forward is who is going to hold this super majority to account? “I think there will be a muted scrutiny function and that Woking and all of our residents will be worse off.”

The biggest swing of the day came in Canalside with the Liberal Democrats overturning a Labour majority of 570 to take the seat.

Leader of the Council Councillor Ann-Marie Barker, who held on to her Goldsworth Park seat said:”It’s a huge result for the Liberal Democrats, given the year we’ve had (referencing the Section 114 bankruptcy notice).

“To get such an overwhelming majority, resulting in existing councillors with increased majorities and gaining four seats. It’s a massive responsibility and we’ve got a huge mandate to take it forward and we’ve showed that we can do that over the last couple of years. Scrutiny is very important. We still have independent and Labour councillors, but the importance for scrutiny is critical friends and constructive criticism  – and that should come from both within and beyond the group.

“First priority is to get the new councillors trained inducted and working on their roles to deliver for residents and clearly finances are in our mind all the time and our work to deliver on our budget and next year’s budget.”

Related reports:

PM confident of success in Woking

Woking’s whopping bail out and tax rise

The knives are out in Woking

Woking’s debt crisis explained

Police post taken down before election

Surrey Police Commissioner post

The Surrey Police and Crime Commission social media team were made to remove a graphic from Twitter, now X and Facebook after a complaint it could influence the May 2 elections.

The post was made during the run up to the election when public bodies are supposed to remain completely impartial to avoid favouring any one candidate or using taxpayer money to look to influence voters.

The message said it had re-opened funding for local services that promote community safety, support children and young people and help reduce reoffending in Surrey. It was accompanied by an image that showed more than £2m had been provided to support local services in the last financial year.

The complainant, the Liberal Democrat Councillor for Bagshot and North Windlesham Richard Wilson, felt this was a breach of  pre-election publicity rules.

Writing to the Monitoring Officer, he said: “Any reasonable person would conclude that the post, in particular its use of the graphics, is likely to improve the electorate’s opinion of the incumbent PCC ( Police and Crime Commissioner). This constitutes a breach of the guidance and, therefore, of the rules laid out in the Acts. 

“It would be possible to direct readers to the funding website without publicising the £2m which has already been provided. This piece of information is wholly unnecessary and its purpose is clearly to promote the PCC. This is a use of public resources to influence an election.”

After receiving the complaint, Alison Bolton, chief executive and monitoring officer of the Police and Crime Commission, told the communication team to delete the images but felt the text was fine to be republished –  and did not merit an apology.

Media policies had been reviewed ahead of the pre-election period and the use of social media and their website has been “significantly” limited, she added.

The posts were scheduled, she said, as the funding process opened on April 1 and they wanted to give organisations the greatest amount of time possible to apply. She said: “Your view that the posts are “likely to improve the electorate’s opinion of the incumbent PCC” is arguably a subjective one. I can assure you that the posts were made in good faith by comms colleagues with the intention of promoting a funding opportunity and not, as you suggest, to “promote the PCC. “We had purposefully not made reference to the incumbent PCC or included any images of her.

“That said, I recognise that the aim of promoting the funds could have been achieved with a simpler post and as such, I have asked my colleagues to remove the posts that include the ‘graphic’.  We will re-issue the link, but I don’t believe that issuing an apology is necessary.”

A spokesperson for the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner said it restricted its output to some “business-as-usual work” in line with pre-election guidelines.

They said: “On April 3, the Communications Team posted a message on social media highlighting the process for which organisations and services can apply to our funding streams which opened for the new financial year two days earlier on April 1.

“These streams provide vital support for some of the most vulnerable people in our communities including victims of crime, young people and domestic abuse survivors as well as funding important projects that enhance community safety across Surrey. 

“Allocating these funds and commissioning these important services is a significant role that the OPCC undertakes and we wanted to give local organisations the greatest amount of time possible to apply. The message posted did not name or reference the current PCC or contain any image of her. However the message did have an accompanying graphic which highlighted the amount of funding the office had provided to support local services during the last financial year.

“The post was created in good faith with the intention of promoting the funding opportunity and was not designed to promote the current Commissioner. However upon review by the OPCC Monitoring Officer, the decision was taken to remove the graphic and replace it with one that had removed the reference to the amount of funding given last year to avoid any inference during the pre-election period. 

“The current commissioner was not aware and did not have any involvement in the creation of the original message.”

The elections for the Surrey Police and Crime Commissioner take place countywide on Thursday May 2. Counting takes place the following day with the results expected around 2pm.

The vote takes place across Surrey with the count taking place the following day with the result expected to be announced between 3pm and 4pm.

Related reports:

Surrey’s next Police and Crime Commissioner will be?

Epsom and Ewell candidates dominate Police Commissioner election

Surrey Police funding: not a fair cop

The Cost of Surrey’s Crime Commissioner: “It’s criminal”?

County divisions – have your say on changes

Surrey county council divisions in Epsom and Ewell

New boundaries are being proposed for council divisions in Surrey County Council including in Epsom and Ewell.

The Local Government Boundary Commission wants to hear what residents and local organisations think about the proposals. A ten-week consultation on the proposals will run until 16 October 2023.

The Commission is the independent body that draws these boundaries. It is reviewing Surrey to make sure councillors will represent about the same number of electors, and that division arrangements will help the council work effectively.

The Commission has published proposals for changes to Surrey. It is proposing that there should be 81 single-councillor divisions.

In respect of Epsom and Ewell the Commission reports:

“Epsom & Ewell has been allocated five councillors, each councillor representing on average 6% more electors than the county average.

We received two proposals for this borough, from the Council, who proposed a minimal level of change from the existing division arrangements, and from the Epsom & Ewell Constituency Labour Party. The proposal from the local Labour Party, while offering helpful information about deprivation levels throughout the borough, and proposing 100% coterminosity, offered poor levels of electoral equality for several divisions, including 12% fewer electors than average in Town division, and 21% more electors than average in Epsom Common & Downs.

Epsom Town & Downs, Epsom West and West Ewell

We have adopted the Council’s proposals for these divisions. The Labour proposal, which kept entire wards within single divisions throughout the borough, placed Stamford ward within a southern division, proposed to be called Epsom Common & Downs, resulting in very poor electoral inequality for this ward. In contrast, the Council’s proposal, while splitting wards, offered good electoral equality, and used the strong boundary of the railway line through the centre of Epsom Town.

The only proposed change from the existing divisions we are making is to unify Horton ward within Epsom West division, placing electors on Oakwood Avenue, McKenzie Way and neighbouring streets in Epsom West division. This was proposed by the Council, and both improves coterminosity, and ensures that these electors are not isolated within West Ewell division as they are at present, and we have adopted it as part of our draft recommendations. The remaining boundaries of West Ewell division, including the borough wards of Ruxley, West Ewell and the northern section of Court ward, are unchanged from the existing arrangements.

Ewell and Ewell Court, Auriol & Cuddington

Both proposals received suggested identical boundaries for these divisions, which we have adopted as part of our draft recommendations. There was a disagreement over the name of Ewell division, with the Labour proposal suggesting retaining the existing name, while the Council proposal suggested replicating the names of the constituent borough wards, and naming this division as Stoneleigh, Ewell Village & Nonsuch.

We considered this proposed name change carefully but, while retaining an open mind, have not included it as part of our draft recommendations. While we note that the northernmost division (Ewell Court, Auriol & Cuddington) has a name comprising the three wards constituting the division, we note that we are proposing to retain the existing boundaries for Ewell division, and that it may cause confusion for electors if the name of the division is changed but the boundaries remain unchanged. The Council did not provide significant evidence in favour of its proposed name, and we would welcome further evidence from residents and other interested parties as to whether a different name might better reflect the communities in this area.

Launching the consultation Professor Colin Mellors, Chair of the Commission, said: “We want people in Surrey to help us.

We have drawn up proposals for new divisions in Surrey. We want to make sure these new electoral arrangements reflect communities. We also want them to be easy to understand and convenient for local people. Residents and local organisations can help us do that. We would like them to let us know whether they agree with our proposals before we take final decisions.

It’s easy to get involved. Go to our website. Or you can e-mail or write to us. Just tell us what you think and give us some details why you think that. It’s really simple, so do get involved.”

The Commission has a dedicated section on its website where people can see the detail of the proposals and comment on the names of divisions and their boundaries: https://www.lgbce.org.uk/all-reviews/surrey.

People can also give their views by e-mail at reviews@lgbce.org.uk, and by post:

Review Officer (Surrey) LGBCE, PO Box 133 Blyth NE24 9FE

This consultation relates to arrangements for local government elections. It is separate from the review of parliamentary constituencies that has recently concluded.

An interactive map is available at https://www.lgbce.org.uk/all-reviews/surrey

The Local Government Boundary Commission for England is an independent body accountable to Parliament. It recommends fair electoral and boundary arrangements for local authorities in England. In doing so, it aims to:

  • Make sure that, within an authority, each councillor represents a similar number of electors
  • Create boundaries that are appropriate, and reflect community ties and identities
  • Deliver reviews informed by local needs, views and circumstances
  • Reflect the request for single-member divisions