Council Tax: an extra pound a month to save Wiltshire from a 'minimal' police service
The Police and Crime Commissioner for Wiltshire and Swindon, Angus Macpherson has welcomed the Home Office's lifting of the two percent cap on increases in the policing part of council tax bills.
This means that across the country, in consultation with local residents, Police and Crime Commissioners can now raise the amount by £12. The former limit in Wiltshire for policing was an annual rise of £3.24 for a band D household.
A statement from Angus Macpherson includes this sentence: "Wiltshire Police was facing cuts of £3m, which would have reduced policing to a minimal service, but if the public supports the one-pound-a-month increase then those cuts would
be avoided and current service levels maintained."
The Commissioner says in the statement: “This is good news for our county. I have been saying that we need more resources to ensure the safety of our county and residents agreed. They want more policing and were prepared to pay more.
They definitely didn’t want to see further reductions."
“I went to see the Policing Minister personally and have lobbied hard for this flexibility. I am delighted that he has taken what the public has said on board and allowed Police and Crime Commissioners to decide what resources
they require for policing.”
The proposed increase in the PCC's part of Council Tax for 2018/19 is yet to be set, but a consultation with local residents will be launched on 2 January 2018.
If an annual rise of £12 was agreed then this will see the current contribution for policing of £14.19 a month for a band D household rise to £15.19 per month.
Mr Macpherson: “I think most people would be prepared to pay an extra £1 a month. This could bridge the gap in funding and give us the chance to ensure that Wiltshire Police continues to perform well.”
The government has also raised the cap on increases to Wiltshire Council's part - the main part - of Council Tax bills.
The limit to these increases will now be 5.99 per cent - which includes a 3 per cent increase to help pay for social care. Up to the end of this financial year central government's social care funding for adults will have been cut since 2010 by £6 billion
across the country.
These moves see the continuation of the government's policy of funding public services via local taxes - rather than by central government taxes which are covered by election manifesto promises.
The only part of the Council Tax for 2018-2019 that has been set is Marlborough Town Council's share - or 'precept’. It was agreed at the Full Council meeting on December 11 that it will rise by 2.9 per cent - which equates to an annual Town Council precept of £187.97 for a Band D property. It will mean an increase for this Band of Marlborough's householders of £5.30 a year or 44p a month.