Hyndburn’s police chief has announced a near two per cent hike in the Constabulary’s council tax rates.
Police and Crime Commissioner Clive Grunshaw claims the 1.99 per cent rise in the police precept is necessary in the face of government cuts. He says it will swell Lancashire’s coffers by an extra £1.2m a year.
On top of hikes previously announced by Lancashire County Council, the rise means ‘average’ Band D property owners are set to pay around £2 per month more in council tax. Hyndburn council has ruled out an increase in its share of council tax.
Mr Grunshaw said there had been support for a council tax rise to protect the police service from funding cuts.
He added: “I have had a clear message from residents that they are worried about future reductions in service.
“They fear reduced police visibility and presence, reduced numbers of officers and PCSOs and that crime and anti-social behaviour will increase.
“To people living in Lancashire, protecting the vulnerable and ensuring safe communities is paramount.”
But Coun Peter Britcliffe, Hyndburn’s Conservative group leader, slammed the Commission for increasing rates while turning down a government grant.
He said: “It doesn’t surprise me as it seems to be what Labour do where they are in control. I expect the fire authority will put theirs up too. It’s unbelievable for a party crying out about the cost of living that all these authorities are going to put up the cost of living for Lancashire tax payers.”
More than 1,400 residents were consulted in telephone surveys, while hundreds attended roadshows across the county.
The Commission is working to make £19.7m of savings before 2017/18, in addition to the £20.5m of savings announced last September.