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PCCs proposing increase to council tax precept

Two PCCs are looking to use the power to raise the council tax precept by £15 a year for a typical Band D property.

Hertfordshire PCC David Lloyd has proposed raising the council tax precept to support "record officer numbers", after the government gave PCCs the power to implement an increase of up to £15 a year on certain properties.

Included as part of the provisional police funding settlement announced earlier this month, this power would generate an additional £349m compared to 2022/23 - if utilised by all PCCs.

Hertfordshire's PCC is among those wishing to implement the increase, which would see the annual precept for an average Band D property rise from £223 to £238.

In promoting a survey designed to gauge public opinion, Mr Lloyd said the 28p a week increase will go toward supporting record officer numbers.

He said: "Hertfordshire now has more officers that it has ever had in its history. A three-year period of investment has enabled the number of frontline officers to keep increasing.

"By the end of April 2023, the constabulary are on target to have over 2,350 officers in post, which will be 300 more officers than we had in 2019.

“This landmark was achieved because in previous consultations you overwhelmingly told me that you wanted more officers on the streets. Now this is being delivered I want to ensure that this record-breaking force is maintained and fully supported."

The proposed average £15 a year increase would raise an additional £7 million locally, he said.

Acknowledging the "tough financial times" currently being faced by many, Mr Lloyd said this proposed increase doesn't break promises made to Hertfordshire residents.

He continued: "Keeping council tax low has been one of my overriding ambitions as your Commissioner. I am determined to maintain the legacy that you pay one of the lowest contributions in the country."

The survey will remain open until January 15, 2023.

West Midlands PCC Simon Foster is also looking at implementing the same increase, but insists this isn't by choice.

He said: “I would much rather that the government had fully funded this increase, rather than effectively mandating it and imposing the burden onto local taxpayers.

"With rising costs and inflation, West Midlands Police’s budget remains under severe pressure. 

"The harsh reality is that the government has provided us with a stark choice. Increase the Council Tax police precept or face yet further cuts to policing."

The PCC argues that having to ask residents for a greater contribution is a sign that the "West Midlands is once again being short changed" when it comes to central government funding.

Mr Foster said: "We will receive the fifth worst financial settlement of any Force in the country. This will be a below inflation 3.3% rise compared to the 4.3% rise given to leafier areas such as Hertfordshire, Sussex and Wiltshire."  

This increase will support plans to put an extra 450 neighbourhood police officers onto the streets of the West Midlands, he added.

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