Council tax bills to rise to pay for extra police and fire officers

Police patrols
Police patrols

Council tax bills will rise for every household in Greater Manchester to cover the cost of recruiting hundreds more police and fire officers.

The average household will have to pay an extra £24 in the coming year under plans approved by the combined authority.

This will fund 347 new police officers – including a named neighbourhood officer and community support officer in each of the city region’s 215 wards.

More than 100 new firefighters will also be taken on, while planned cuts to the fire service – including reducing the number of fire engines – have been shelved.

Further funding will also be put into travel scheme Our Pass and the rough sleeping initiative A Bed Every Night.

Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham described council tax as a “regressive” way of funding essential services, and that increasing it would “hit some of our poorest communities hardest”.

But he told regional leaders that the tax hike reflected calls from the public for better-funded emergency services and an improved public transport system.

Council tax pays for a proportion of every day local services in Greater Manchester. But part of the bill – known as the precept – is assigned to the mayor to fund regional services.

From April 1 the cost of council tax for Band D households will go up to £90.95 – an increase of £14 – to cover the mayoral precept.

Most of this will go towards funding the fire service, while the separate police precept will go up by £10.

This means there will be a proposed total monthly increase of £24 for Band D properties in 2020/21.

Andy Burnham said: “Council tax is a regressive tax and it is not in any way, shape or form the ideal way to fund essential services.

“It is important to always be cognizant of the fact that any increase in council tax hits some of our poorest communities hardest.”