A “flood tax” could be introduced to Surrey homes after the county council’s cabinet meeting last night (October 31).

The council might be asked to pay as much as £100million towards the River Thames Scheme, aimed to reduce the impact of future floods.

Blaming a lack of cash reserves, the council looked into ways to raise the money, and they identified the possibility of increasing Council Tax or adding a levy.

Any Council Tax increase of more than 2 per cent would trigger a referendum under the current rules, unless it is to pay for adult social care, which allows a larger increase.

A council report suggested asking Communities and Local Government minister Sajid Javid to allow the council to do the same to pay for flood defences.

At the cabinet meeting, it was agreed instead to pressure the government to pay for the scheme, hoping that residents would avoid the cost.

Councillor John Furey said: “This is not an issue that we should have to deal with locally. The government should wake up and realise this is an issue to be dealt with nationally. Even with the River Thames Scheme in place, and the protection being there for all of these homes, we will still need to maintain it. So we will be left with the bill to carry on maintaining it to make sure it’s sustainable.”

Council leader David Hodge is to meet with the Treasury to argue the council’s case.

He said: “I am not prepared to see the residents of our county, who pay the largest amount of money to the government outside the City of London, and our homes put at risk.

“We need to stand up and say we want to protect our residents and their homes. They’ve worked hard for them, and we should be protecting them.”