Huge public support for
Merseyside PCC's proposal for a modest precept rise to protect the Police budget
MORE than 80% of respondents to a
public consultation have supported Merseyside Police Commissioner's proposal
to raise the Police 'Precept' by a small amount to defend the
Police Force from a further government cut.
A total of 2,051 people responded, either in person or online, to the
consultation undertaken by the Commissioner, Jane Kennedy, to find out
whether residents would be prepared to contribute a little extra to protect
Merseyside Police's budget from a government shortfall.
Despite the Chancellor promising to protect Police budgets, when
confirmation of the Police grant was provided to Police Commissioners it had
been cut by 0.6%, with government ministers assuming local people would pay
more through the 'Police Precept', part of the Council Tax. This cut
is the equivalent of £1.35m or about 26 Police Officer posts.
While the government expected taxpayers to foot the difference, the
Commissioner has spent the last two weeks consulting local people to find
out if they would be willing to contribute a little extra to make up the
shortfall and protect Police Officer jobs.
The results revealed that 82.69% of people were willing to approve the
Commissioner's proposal to increase the Police Precept by 1.95%, with just
16.23% of the public saying they were not prepared to pay more and 1% of
people being unsure.
The increase amounts to 4p a week, or £2 a year, for a Band A household;
the category which includes the majority of homes on Merseyside.
Even after this small increase, the Police element of Council Tax Bills on
Merseyside will still be among the lowest in the Country.
Jane said:- "Once again local people have reminded me just how
strongly the residents of Merseyside support their Police Force. At the same
time there are a significant number who feel they are taxed too much. It is
my responsibility to work with the Chief Constable to ensure every pound we
spend is effectively and efficiently used. When the Government set the
budget for the police, they failed to ask people their view and just assumed
local taxpayers would be prepared to make up the shortfall. I wanted to find
out whether people would genuinely be willing to do so. These results
demonstrate beyond doubt that people on Merseyside are prepared to pay a
little more; we even had members of the public offering to give us donations
there and then. I'd like to thank everyone for their feedback and for the
support they have shown. I know everyone is feeling the pinch at the moment
and I don't make such a proposal lightly."
During the consultation, the Commissioner held a community consultation
event in each local authority area, with 2 in Liverpool, in order to hear
the views of many people as possible. She also conducted an online survey on
A total of 1,581 people said they would be prepared to contribute a more,
while 333 people said they did not think it was reasonable to ask Tax Payers
to pay more for Police services. 22 people were undecided.
The Commissioner will now present her proposed budget to the Police and
Crime Panel, on Tuesday, 2 February 2016, for consideration and approval. In order
to balance the budget she is also intending to use £3.4m from reserves.