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Matthew to propose Council Tax precept freeze

Next week, Matthew is to propose to the Police and Crime Panel a freeze of the police precept of the council tax for 2013/14 and take up the offer of a government grant of £503,000 to fund policing in each of the next two years. A Band D taxpayer will therefore pay £173.12, the same as this year, for policing within their overall council tax in 2013/14.

Explaining the reasons behind his proposal Matthew said:

Following the Comprehensive Spending review the Humberside Police Authority worked with the Chief Constable Tim Hollis to plan budget cuts of around £30 million through managed reductions and consistently delivered savings to targets. As part of their strategy the Authority increased the precept in this financial year by just under 4% and retained substantial reserves. This allowed me to inherit a relatively sound financial position and I am grateful for that.

I said in my election campaign that I would look closely at more efficient ways of working, which will deliver the most effective police service to the people of our area, before taking more money out of residents pockets than they could afford.

Even though the amounts involved in any increase in respect of policing may be small, in today’s tough financial climate the last thing I want to do is ask hard-pressed families to dig deeper and I appreciate that any extra costs would be unwelcome. 

Realistically, I have a choice of two options for the precept next year:

1.  Freeze the precept. This entitles me to a government grant of £503,000 per year for the next 2 years.

2.  Raise the precept by 2%. This would mean an increase of £3.46 (7p per week) for a Band D taxpayer. It would generate £836,000 next year in council tax but the government grant of £503,000 would be lost.

I have asked the public for their views as part of the consultation on the Police and Crime Plan and there has been a mixed response with some prepared to pay more and some vehemently against any increase.

I have considered all the information put before me, the overall financial position and listened to the views of community partners and the public. I have decided that through a combination of working with the new Chief Constable to effectively manage the force budget, partnership working and utilising reserves, I will not need to go to the taxpayer for funding this year. I am therefore submitting my proposal to freeze the precept to the Police and Crime Panel.”

Posted on Thursday 31st January 2013
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