Police forces propose tax increases

Eastbourne
Eastbourne

Both Lincolnshire and Leicestershire police forces are proposing a small increase in their portion of the council tax.

In Lincolnshire the increase would be 1.97 per cent and in Leicestershire, which also covers Rutland it would be 1.99 per cent.

Lincolnshire Police and Crime Commissioner Marc Jones has proposed the increase which, if approved, would mean residents will be asked to pay about 5p extra a week in order to protect the number of front line police officers deployed across the county.

But the PCC’s office says it will still need to use nearly £4 million from its shrinking reserves to protect services.

The full budget proposal will be reviewed by the Police and Crime Panel on Monday, February 6.

If the proposed funding from the Government for Lincolnshire next year is confirmed it would put the county third from bottom in terms of grant provided per head of population. The Government allocates Lincolnshire £88 per head of population, compared to £99 for Norfolk, £119 for Nottinghamshire and £132 for Humberside.

The plan sets the PCC’s budget at £118m of which £46m comes from council tax and £3.8m from reserves. The PCC say the increase in precept will allow Lincolnshire Police to maintain its current levels of front line police officers.

The proposed budget comes after the PCC’s annual survey demonstrated overwhelming support for additional funding for the police.

In the survey, which received 1,757 responses - a 27.4 per cent increase on the previous year - more than 91 per cent (1,604) said they supported additional funding for the police service.

However the budget papers sent to the Panel do warn that, unless Lincolnshire receives a fairer allocation of central funds in the future, services in the county are under threat.

The Government has pledged to review the current funding formula later this year but the PCC’s office has said that, based on current funding levels, the county will face a funding gap of nearly £10m from 2018 to 2020.

The Commissioner travelled to the Home Office on Monday in person to meet the Policing Minister Brandon Lewis to discuss the funding situation face to face.

Mr Jones said: “There’s no doubt that the budget has been a challenge. We receive much less per head of population than almost every other area in England and Wales and I continue to make a strong case to the Government to get our residents a deal that makes Lincolnshire Police sustainable for the future.

“But I am positive about the year ahead. I believe that even with the pressures on our finances we can innovate and provide an even better service to the communities of Lincolnshire. I am committed to ensuring our residents get the best possible service for the money we spend and I will do everything possible to ensure that our communities are, and feel, safe.”

Meanwhile, the county council is looking to increase its share of council tax by 3.95 per cent. The council’s executive is expected to make its final budget proposals at a meeting on February 7.

SKDC is inviting people to share their views online at www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/counciltax2017-18

The survey closes on Sunday, February 19. The comments residents and businesses make will help the authority to make its decision on council tax levels for 2017/18 on March 2, 2017.

Leicestershire’s Police and Crime Commissioner Lord Willy Bach is proposing an increase of 1.99 per cent - equivalent to £3.65 per annum for the average Band D property.

If the Police and Crime Panel, which meets today, is supportive of the increase it will take the total amount paid for policing for a Band D property to an annual sum of £187.23.