Council tax precept information 2019/20
Just before Christmas, the government announced the amount of funding that Lancashire Police would receive. When setting the figure, the government assumed that I would increase the police precept element of council tax by £24 (for a Band D property) – this was the only option provided to protect and bolster policing here in Lancashire and not using it would mean a further cut to the budget, the equivalent to 125 fewer police officers.
I maintain that it is not sustainable for police funding to rely on the council tax precept and it is unfair to continue passing the burden of years of austerity in policing onto local council taxpayers. That said, I firmly believe that it is local residents who should decide, not the government, which is why I went out to consultation on this matter.
Central government budget cuts continue to hit Lancashire Police hard. After losing £84m from the police budget since 2010, with over £22m still to find by 2024, resources are extremely stretched with 750 fewer officers and increasing demand on officers. New types of crime are emerging and threats faced by local communities are changing.
Whilst I welcome the Home Secretary’s statement that he will prioritise funding for policing, I strongly believe it is not sustainable to rely on the council tax precept to bridge the funding gap and it is unfair to continue passing the burden of years of austerity in policing onto local council tax payers.
Whilst I’m grateful for the public’s continued support here in Lancashire, there is understandably growing concern and angst amongst residents that they are being asked to stump up more and more money for policing which is not benefiting Lancashire and providing the investment in policing services they deserve.
The continued reliance on council tax increases to generate income for policing is unsustainable and places an unfair burden on the poorest sections of our communities. Put simply, the current national funding level for policing is insufficient to provide the level of service required by the public.
More funding needs to come from the government grant increases and not from further council tax increases. Furthermore a long term plan is required for police funding which addresses the growing pressures on the service instead of papering over the cracks that years of underfunding have caused.
Lancashire residents expect a police force that is properly funded by central government, and that is able to respond appropriately with the relevant resources when needed.
It is therefore only right that any increases in the precept paid for by local taxpayers should be spent on improving local services, and that the Treasury must make adequate resources available for national policing from the public purse: the government should not lean on local taxpayers to foot the bill for the vital policing initiatives that keep us all safe, when many of them are already feeling the strain financially caused by years of austerity and the increased cost of living.
As Police and Crime Commissioner for Lancashire it is incumbent on me to ensure that Lancashire receives a fair funding settlement which is also sustainable and flexible enough to adapt to periodic change in demographics and criminality whilst providing consistency for forward planning.
I have written to the Home Office on this issue and gained the support of Lancashire Labour MPs, in addition to Mark Menzies MP and I continue to lobby government around this issue for benefit of Lancashire residents.
|2018/19 Budget requirement
|Add: Pay award
|Add: Additional Pension Costs
|Less: Additional specific grant funding
|2019/20 Budget requirement
|EXPENDITURE AND INCOME
|2019/20 per head
|Gross Revenue Expenditure
|Net Budget requirement
|Less: Central Government funding
|Less: Collection Fund surplus 2018/19
|Council Tax Requirement
|Band D equivalent (£)