Police seeking 2.5pc rise in council tax charge

HUMBERSIDE Police has set the highest tax rise so far this year among local services.

The police part of the council tax has been set at 2.5 per cent – while Hull Council managed no increase for its services and East Riding Council 1.5 per cent.

Although many people are struggling financially, with thousands losing their jobs or finding their pay frozen or on reduced hours, police salaries are set to rise by more than 2.55 per cent.

Humberside Fire and Rescue has raised its part of the bill by 1.64 per cent. The service says it is anticipating low salary rises, if any.

With all the bills added in next year, a band D householder in Hull will pay 1,341.02 – an increase of 5.32 over last year, while the average Band A householder will pay 894.02, a rise of 4.55.

A Band D householder in the East Riding will pay a total of 1,456.59, an increase of 23.23.

The final figures will be set at council meetings in Hull and Beverley next week.

Andrew Allison, of the Hull and East Riding branch of the Taxpayers' Alliance, said: "I think by and large the police do a good job, but I think we should all be in this together. People in the private sector are getting pay frozen or cuts just to stay in work. Surely the least public sector workers should do is have a pay freeze?"

In a statement, chairman of Humberside Police Authority Alene Branton said the budget would maintain frontline services, adding: "We feel that we have found the right balance.

"The Chief Constable's work in response to the authority's direction has helped us to set a budget that will preserve local policing services and help to keep people safe from harm by disrupting serious and organised crime."

Humberside Fire and Rescue said more than three-quarters of people who responded to consultation last December were prepared to see an increase of one per cent or more.

Director of finance Kevin Wilson said: "To maintain the current level of service, the precept this year only needed to be increased by one per cent, due to low pay rises and low general inflation.

"Although, with the likelihood of significant reductions in external support from central government, it is going to prove extremely challenging for the fire authority if we want to maintain the current level of service in future years."

The extra money will fund a 140,000 support team, focusing on making vulnerable elderly residents safer.