22 Jan How much extra can you afford to pay towards policing
You might remember before Christmas the government announced the funding for policing in Gloucestershire for the next year.
You might also recall it wasn’t as clear cut as ministers were promoting.. i.e. Gloucestershire was “getting” an extra £6.6 million this year…
To get that magical £6.6 million additional money – that relies on me asking you for more money – a £15 per year for every band D property.
That means the police part of the council tax will have to go up to meet that investment number given out in Conservative party literature.
Can you afford to pay ?
This month I’ve launched a full consultation to garner your views, please make sure you have your say by going to the survey here.
There is a well-known saying that “There’s no such thing as a free lunch”. A good example is the Chancellor’s Eat out to help out scheme.
Not quite free but subsidised and designed with the best of intentions to help the recovery, only to be criticised by others with the benefit of hindsight.
It is also why even the most glass-half-full person must accept that the so-called money tree the Government has nurtured in its bid to safeguard jobs and underpin the economy, will soon start to lose its leaves.
Funding now and for the future
Among the biggest challenges facing me this year is how to ensure the Constabulary has the tools to do its job to the standard it wants and you deserve.
What has made the task more difficult is the way in which funding the police has shifted considerably away from Central Government towards local taxation.
Devil in the detail
Just before Christmas, the Home Office announced a maximum £6.6 million cash increase for policing in Gloucestershire in the next financial year. It sounded good but, as so often, the devil is in the detail.
“I have tried to be open when it comes to spending your money”
Yes, the Government is providing £3.2 million to help recruit an additional 45 police officers for Gloucestershire – to go with the 46 last year – to restore some of the 249 officers lost during the decade of austerity.
However, as welcome as those extra officers are and will be, the other £3.4 million depends entirely on how much the council tax goes up.
Reaching the £6.6m announced by the Home Office, is based on the Government’s calculation of a 5.8% increase in the policing element of the council tax or £15 per year for a Band D property.
In other words, any additional funding for Gloucestershire Constabulary must come from local taxpayers.