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Tue, 2 June 2020

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Council tax bills set to rise to pay for multi-million pound police funding boost

Council tax bills set to rise to pay for multi-million pound police funding boost

Emilio Casalicchio

2 min read

Families across the country are set to see their council tax bills go up under a scheme to unlock £450m of extra funding for local forces, it was announced today.

The Home Office said Police and Crime Commissioners would have the power to raise the so-called "local precept" - which raises cash for crime-fighting - by £1 every month without the need to hold a referendum. 

Meanwhile, central government funding for so-called ‘national priorities’ - which includes firearms - will increase by £130m and counterterrorism funding will go up by £50m.

When the potential £270m raised locally is taken into account, the overall package amounts to £450m extra for forces in the next financial year.

The Home Office has insisted police budgets have been protected in real terms - despite recent figures showing a cut of some £413m.

In a statement today, Policing Minister Nick Hurd said the funding change came after he spoke to all 43 police forces about the challenges they face fighting crime and keeping the public safe.

"It is clear that with more victims of serious, hidden crimes such as domestic abuse, modern slavery and child sexual exploitation coming forward, this has placed greater demand on policing," he said.

He told MPs in the Commons that the extra cash was a "comprehensive settlement that makes sure police have the resources they need".

But Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott said the new money might not help officers “meet the challenge and the reality of modern policing".

Labour former minister Pat McFadden fumed: “What the minister has done today is to pass the buck from the Government to the local Police and Crime Commissioners.”

Home Secretary Amber Rudd said: "Taxpayers will invest more money in forces because the work our officers do to protect us is absolutely vital and we recognise demand is changing.

"However, my message to police forces is that this increased investment must mean we raise the pace of reform.

"For too long embracing digital and increasing productivity have been tomorrow's policing problems - now they are today's necessities. The government is committed to meeting this challenge and we want policing to do the same."

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