West Yorkshire’s police commissioner announces two per cent council tax hike

Police and Crime Commissioner for West Yorkshire Mark Burns-Williamson.
Police and Crime Commissioner for West Yorkshire Mark Burns-Williamson.
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WEST Yorkshire’s police and crime commissioner has announced plans to increase his force’s portion of local council tax bills by two per cent.

Labour commissioner Mark Burns-Williamson submitted his plans to raise the police precept yesterday as he battles falling levels of central funding.

The move, which means annual increase of £2.70 a year for Band D properties, comes a month after Leeds city council announced plans to increase its share of the local levy by the same amount following a three-year freeze.

Mr Burns-Williamson’s three PCC counterparts in other parts of Yorkshire also plan to increase their police precept by either two per cent or 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.

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 had to find savings of £152 million by 2016/17 compared with 2010, the equivalent to 30 per cent of its budget. The precept increase last year was 3.8 per cent.

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.

The Police and Crime Panel, which scrutinises the work of PCCs, will consider the proposals on February 7.

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