Jeremy Corbyn asks if Surrey got a “sweetheart deal” as Norfolk faces 4.8pc tax rise

Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn speaks during Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons P

Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn speaks during Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons PA Wire - Credit: PA

Jeremy Corbyn has accused the Government of arranging a 'sweetheart deal' with a Tory-led council to stop a controversial council tax referendum.

The Labour leader questioned how much the Government had offered to Surrey County Council to 'kill this off' and pressed Theresa May to explain if the same deal would be available to every local authority facing the 'social care crisis'.

The Labour leader used prime minister's questions to reveal he had been leaked text messages between Surrey council leader David Hodge and a man named 'Nick'.

The messages suggests Sajid Javid's Department for Communities and Local Government had agreed to financial help to avoid a referendum in Surrey. The Tory council leader appeared to believe he was messaging a DCLG official.

But the Prime Minister claimed Mr Corbyn was using 'alternative facts'.

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Surrey has abandoned its plans for a 15pc hike in council tax to address the crisis in social care funding, adding it will instead 'take a risk' that ministers will find a solution.

Labour MPs could be heard shouting 'we want to hear more about Surrey' as Mrs May struggled to answer Mr Corbyn's questions.

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Surrey council leader David Hodge said on Tuesday that he would instead seek a 4.99% rise in council tax although warned that unless there was progress on funding the situation would become 'untenable and intolerable'.

The planned 15pc rise risked embarrassing Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt and Chancellor Philip Hammond, who both have constituencies in Surrey.

It comes as many local authorities across the country are poised to raise council tax levels. Norfolk County Council announced last month that it was planning to increase council tax by 4.8pc

Surrey County Council leader David Hodge has insisted that the decision to scrap a 15pc council tax rise 'was ours alone and there has been no deal' with the Government.

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