Yet again the Labour Police and Crime Commissioner Alun Michael is planning to increase the police precept – the extra police charge added to the council-tax bill of every householder in South Wales – by well above the rate of inflation.
Although the UK rate of inflation is currently just 1.2% , Commissioner Michael is saying he wants a 4% increase but won’t rule out asking for an increase of 5%.
Alun Michael says “In developing my spending plans for 2017/18 I will continue to protect police numbers and, if possible, provide some growth towards the Chief Constable’s recommended establishment of 3,000 officers.”
Commissioner Michael goes on to say that this will involve what he describes as “a modest increase in the Council Tax Precept in order for South Wales Police to have the capacity to fight crime, prevent crime and make our communities safe.”
The Commissioner also claims “Our expenditure plans currently provide for a Council Tax increase at the 4% level, and for a Band-D taxpayer, that would lead to an increase of £8.31 per year – less than 16p a week. ”
[PDN Note: In fact there are comparatively few “Band-D” properties in Penarth, and virtually none at all below that level – so the use of the “Band-D” comparison as an “average” does not represent anything like the actual banding-levels of the average home in Penarth.]
The Commissioner goes on to say “Depending on the outcome of the grant settlement, I would not rule out a higher increase, perhaps by 5%”
Alun Michael – who was formerly the Labour MP for Cardiff South and Penarth – says “Nobody wants to increase the charge, but people want to live and work in safe communities and that has to weigh heavily with me when making my final budget decisions.”
Commissioner Michael also wants to increase capital expenditure withing South Wales Police aiming to spend £12,400,000 next year. This will be for
- “Significant investment in information technology”
- “Regular replacement of police vehicles” [PDN Note: This would normally be accounted for anyway as part of normal police accounting practice ]
- Refurbishment of police buildings “especially the parts that are old and expensive”
Closing just two days from now is a little-publicised on-line South Wales Police “public consultation” on the next year’s forthcoming increase in the police precept – [i.e. the slice of the Vale council-tax-bill which is pocketed by South Wales Police] .
Members of the public are being asked to comment on a series of questions which are:-
- What are your views on the need to maintain an effective police service during a period of austerity – in particular, maintaining a strong neighbourhood presence?
- Are there areas of South Wales Police activity that you would you be happy to see cut?
- What are your views on my council tax precept proposal?
- What are your views on capital expenditure plans for next year?
The consultation can be found on http://tinyurl.com/h9nt3uo.
There are just two days left to respond before it closes.