Police and fire tax to rise?

New police contact point opened at Tesco, Wisbech, by  Cambridgeshire's Police and Crime Commissioner, Sir Graham Bright. ''left to right David Russ, Megan Sargent, Robin Cawston and Sir Graham Bright ANL-150701-142802009
New police contact point opened at Tesco, Wisbech, by Cambridgeshire's Police and Crime Commissioner, Sir Graham Bright. ''left to right David Russ, Megan Sargent, Robin Cawston and Sir Graham Bright ANL-150701-142802009
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Fenland residents are being asked if they would be prepared to pay more for their police and fire services.

People are being urged to take part in consultations as both Cambridgeshire Police and Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Fire Authority propose to increase their element of the council tax bill.

Police and Crime Commissioner for Cambridgeshire, Sir Graham Bright, has announced his intention to recommend a one per cent increase to the policing precept for 2016/17.

His recommendation, which he will put to the Police and Crime Panel at their next meeting on February 3, follows the government’s recent announcement that Police and Crime Commissioner resources will be protected.

The proposed increase equates to an extra 3.5 pence per week on a band D property – or £1.82 a year.

Mr Bright claimed he would ensure value for money policing with no extra burden on the taxpayer.

“We recognise the hardships that many of our citizens are facing and do not want to add to their burdens,” he said.

“My team has worked closely with the Constabulary to ensure an effective and efficient force, continuing to drive down costs and developing plans to meet future saving requirements. The adoption of new technology and working in collaboration with other forces will continue to deliver further efficiencies in the coming years.

“We will therefore be able to balance the books with a per cent increase in policing precept,” he added. “I am delighted that over the period of my office I have delivered on my promise not to increase the financial burden on the taxpayer. I would like to thank all those who have worked so hard to make this possible.”

Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Fire Authority is proposing to increase its part of the council tax for 2016/17 by two per cent –equating to an extra 2.48 pence per week or £1.29 a year.

The proposal follows news that the service faces further cuts of up to £3.9m over the next four years, having received confirmation of its grant settlement from the Government at the end of December.

The authority said the two per cent increase would off-set some of the cuts by providing the service with an extra £346,000.

Chairman of the Fire Authority, Sir Peter Brown, said: “Over the last four years we have already saved £4.2m across the service to balance the books following the last cut to our Government grant funding. That wasn’t easy and it involved staff changing shift systems, impacting on family life, and it meant some redundancies, too. But we were able to avoid any cuts to the frontline and we will do all we can to continue to protect it.

“However, this is going to be challenging with another £3.9m to find.”

To have your say on the police’s council tax proposal e-mail at: cambs-pcc@cambs.pnn.police.uk, or write to: Police and Crime Commissioner for Cambridgeshire, PO Box 688, Huntingdon, PE29 9LA. To have your say on the fire authority proposal, go to: http://bit.ly/CTax201617 and complete the simple, one question survey.

n The Conservative group on Cambridgeshire County Council will be voting in favour of a 1.99 per cent Council Tax increase during forthcoming debates.