It’s emerged that Labour Police Commissioner Alun Michael’s huge – inflation busting hike in the 2018/19 South Wales Police Precept WILL be be imposed on council-taxpayers in Penarth and South Wales DESPITE the fact that it was voted-down by the South Wales Police and Crime Panel.
The crucial meeting was held on January 30th at the Orbit Business Centre at Rhydycar Merthyr. Minutes of the proceedings have yet to be published .
It’s now been revealed that the normally-supine South Wales Police and Crime Panel was so horrified by the massive increase being demanded by Alun Michael that on January 30th the majority of members present voted AGAINST it [6 members voted against and only 4 voted in favour] .
However, because only 10 members of the 12-strong panel actually turned up at the crucial meeting – and under Home Office rules it would have needed 8 members to veto the huge hike in the police precept – the contentious proposal was automatically endorsed – even though most South Wales Police and Crime Panel Members were opposed to it and voted against it. The two members who failed to turn up were both Swansea councillors.
It means that the South Wales Police and Crime Precept WILL rise by 7% and the new higher charge will be added to all council tax bills in South Wales – including those in the Vale of Glamorgan and Penarth – as from April.
This is the 5th year in a row that the Labour police commissioner Alun Michael has imposed a Police Precept charge which is far more than the annual rate of inflation [currently 3%]
- In 2013/14 Alun Michael increased the Police Precept by 7%.
- In 2014/15 he increased it by 5%
- In 2015/16 he increased it by 4.8%
- In 2016/17 he increased it by 5%
- Now this year – 2017/18 – he’s increasing it yet again by 7%.
The excuse Alun Michael has put forward this year for the increase in the Police and Crime Precept is that he has “no alternative” but to pay out for a new “apprentice levy” – but his less-than-convincing explanation has already been shredded by the Conservative Party who have pointed out that the UK Government had made extra money available to the Welsh Labour Government to cover the cost – and that Labour Ministers in Cardiff Bay were responsible for not passing it on.
Conservative Leader Andrew R T Davies said has said “A 7% rise is a significant amount – and the justification for it does not stack up.The Police and Crime Commissioner claimed it partly was necessary to pay the UK Government’s Apprenticeship Levy – yet Labour Ministers in Cardiff Bay were given money to cover these costs.
The fact they have chosen not to pass it on is their responsibility – leaving local people to pick up the bill. Rather than blaming Westminster – Labour politicians need to accept that it is their decisions in Government in Wales that has seen us fall further and further behind the rest of the UK.”
[PDN Note: In imposing this latest 7% increase in the South Wales Police Precept this year, Alun Michael is following the pattern adopted in his previous term of office when, after his 2012 election as South Wales Police and Crime Commission he also imposed a swingeing 7% increase in the 2013 precept. Labour insiders say that the best time to get a high precept through is immediately after an election and then settle for more modest rises in the ensuing 5 years in the hope that electors will have forgotten the steep rise by the time they go to the polls again. It remains to be seen whether voters in Penarth will forget this year’s increase quite so quickly]