Police add to local tax bills with two per cent increases

West Yorkshire PCC Mark Burns-Williamson
West Yorkshire PCC Mark Burns-Williamson
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TWO of Yorkshire’s police and crime commissioners look set to increase their portion of council tax by two per cent.

Labour commissioners Mark Burns-Williamson of West Yorkshire and Shaun Wright of South Yorkshire have submitted plans to raise their precept as they battle falling levels of central funding.

Their Conservative counterparts, Julia Mulligan of North Yorkshire and Humberside PCC Matthew Grove, have already proposed increasing the police portion of local council tax bills by 1.99 per cent.

But the plans could be thrown into doubt in the coming days as the Government has yet to rule on the maximum amount by which the precept can be increased.

In his submission to the South Yorkshire police and crime panel, which scrutinises his work, Mr Wright wrote that he assumed the limit would be two per cent. The rise was approved in principal by the panel yesterday.

The South Yorkshire increase is equivalent to a rise of £2.85 per year for a Band D property, while the West Yorkshire increase works out as an average annual rise of £2.70 a year.

Mr Burns-Williamson warned that, even if the budget proposal is agreed and 126 police officers and 70 staff can then be recruited in 2014/15, there will still be a net reduction of 98 officers and staff. The force has to find savings of £152 million by 2016/17 compared with 2010, the equivalent to 30 per cent of its budget.

He said: “I know that people are facing financial challenges and have ruled out going any higher with the precept because I don’t think it would be fair in the current economic climate, but it is essential we strive to maintain frontline policing.”

Mr Burns-Williamson has promised to maintain his £17.8 million a year funding for PCSOs in West Yorkshire, though in Leeds the city council has announced plans to cut its contribution by £200,000.