Less than 1 in 8 back ‘police rate’ rise – but it goes ahead
A £15 council tax increase to help fund Greater Manchester Police has been approved despite only around 12 pc supporting it, according to a survey.
The police precept will rise by 6.57 pc for everyone in the city-region from April.
This works out as £10 more a year for Band A households, which accounts for the largest portion of properties in Greater Manchester. The £15 increase for Band D homes - the maximum allowed by the government - was proposed by mayor Andy Burnham and approved by councillors on Thursday (January 26).
It comes after fewer than one in eight of the 417 people who took part in a public consultation this month supported the proposal. More than 60 pc of those who responded to the survey said they did not support any increase.
However, around a quarter of respondents said they would support a £20 hike. Presenting his proposals to the police, fire and crime panel, Mr Burnham said the number of responses to the survey reflects the lack of opposition to the increase, but he recognised the financial impact residents will face as a result.
The Labour mayor said: “If you’re asking people do they want to pay more in a cost of living crisis, it’s not massively surprising that they might come back and say no. But we obviously take into account what people are saying.”
Mr Burnham praised the police force for the improvements made under new leadership which has led to GMP being lifted from special measures last year.
Nevertheless, he said this is a difficult year for setting public sector budgets which have been affected by inflation.
The proposed increase still leaves a £16m gap in GMP’s budget for the next financial year. Chief constable Stephen Watson said the shortfall would be found through ‘genuine efficiencies,’ but also by not filling all job vacancies.
The majority of councillors on the panel voted in favour of the proposal to increase the police precept by £15 for Band D households. But independent panel member Angel Lawrence, who is the founder of the Manchester Active Voices Youth Empowerment programme, voted against the planned increase.
She said: “More than half of the people who answered that survey did not want an increase.
“I think that’s really important. It might work out at £1-something-a month, but when you’re on a very low wage and you’re supporting your family, a pound can feed you another day. We really have to look at the impact it has.”
This council tax increase will come into effect from April.