Will Forster

Lib Dem Spokesperson for Woking and Councillor for South Woking Learn more

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Police share of Council Tax to go up 5.54%

by willforster on 8 February, 2021

Last week, Surrey’s Police and Crime Commissioner David Munro decided to press ahead with a 5.54% increase in his Council Tax precept, ignoring the concerns of both the Surrey Police and Crime Panel and the public.

The majority of the Police and Crime Panel voted to reject the proposed rise, but as two thirds of the Panel did not vote against the precept increase, there were insufficient votes to veto the rise. As well as the Panel not liking the Council Tax increase, the public did not support it either.  The Commissioner’s own budget consultation found that 51% of respondents to his consultation had also rejected his proposal too.

As Woking’s representative on the Police Panel, I voted against the Council Tax rise.  I am pleased the majority of the Panel followed suit, but as the Government set the veto threshold very high – the Panel failed to stop the precept increase.

The 5.54% rise means that the current PCC, who was elected as a Conservative but is now independent, will have increased the Police’s Council Tax precept by nearly 30% during his term.

I think the decision to press ahead with another large rise, when so many people are suffering financially, is unprecedented and outrageous; it creates a further crisis of legitimacy of the Conservatives’ deeply flawed and derided PCC model.

We have a former Conservative PCC, at the end of the fifth year of his term, overriding the concerns of the public and the Panel, and obeying the orders of Priti Patel and the Tory Government – imposing an inflation – busting increase on local taxpayers, who already pay the highest share of Police funding in the country.

We all want to support the Police. The Lib Dems and I support the extra investment in officers, victim support, rural crime and road safety which the 5.54% rise is meant to fund.  However, frankly after years of Council Tax increases and minimal efficiency savings, we could and should be getting this already.

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