5th Dec, 2016

West Midlands Police chief seeks views on extra £5 Council Tax for crimefighting

Solihull Editorial 23rd Dec, 2015 Updated: 21st Oct, 2016
WEST MIDLANDS Police chief is seeking your views on how your money should be spent on crimefighting next year – and whether there should be £5 extra on Council Tax bills.
The force’s police and crime commissioner David Jamieson has launched a public consultation concerning his budget proposals for 2016/17, which begins next April.
His budget will include the police portion (precept) of Council Tax, which is set to be increased by £5 a year for an average Band D home as the force grapples with the effect of years of government funding cuts.
Mr Jamieson said a £5 rise would still mean local people pay £65 less than for neighbouring forces such as Staffordshire, West Mercia and Warwickshire.
He said the West Midlands Police precept is the second lowest in the country at just £106.55 per annum (for a Band D council taxpayer) compared to the highest of £215.89 in Surrey.
Mr Jamieson calculates that if the police precept is frozen at its current levels, West Midlands Police would lose out on approximately £3.3m per annum, which at least £13m of lost funding by 2019/20.
“This loss of funding would have a significant impact on policing across the West Midlands with inevitable reductions in service,” he added.
It comes after chancellor George Osborne’s spending review in November gave the West Midlands force freedom to raise the Council Tax precept above 2 per cent, which will still apply to many other forces.
The consultation will run until January 2016 29.
Mr Jamieson added: “The government have made it clear that to cover their reduction in police funding they expect PCCs to increase council tax precept by the maximum amount.
“In the West Midlands that would mean council tax increasing by £5 a year or just under 10p a week for a Band D council taxpayer.
“Before I make my final decision on the local policing precept I want to hear the views of the public. Please get in touch and fill in our online survey.”