Police authority agrees tax hike

SUFFOLK Police Authority has voted through a 4.68% tax increase - one of the lowest hikes in the region.The rise on the police precept of the council tax bill means Band D households will pay an extra £5.

SUFFOLK Police Authority has voted through a 4.68% tax increase - one of the lowest hikes in the region.

The rise on the police precept of the council tax bill means Band D households will pay an extra £5.85 a year for the police service from April.

A move to put rates up by just under 5% failed to win approval among the authority members, as did a hike of just under 4.5%.

Agreement was reached on a compromise 4.68% level after discussions at yesterday's meeting of the police authority, held at the force's Martlesham headquarters.


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Gulshan Kayembe, chair of the authority, said: “Suffolk has a low cost, high performing force - and our priority was to set a budget which ensures the constabulary can continue to offer a top quality policing service to local people.

“At the same time, members were keen to ensure the police's part of the council tax was kept to a minimum.”

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Mrs Kayembe had wanted to increase taxes by 4.97% but her proposal failed to win sufficient support.

She told the meeting their Essex counterparts had voted for 5.9% increase, while Norfolk was considering a level of between 5 and 6%.

This is compared with increases of just below 5% proposed for Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire.

Suffolk county councillors Mark Bee and Joanna Spicer were among those who opposed Mrs Kayembe's proposal and instead put forward a 4.46% hike.

But the figure of 4.68% was finally agreed upon after members were told it would generate an extra £219,000 for the next tax year and balance the budget for 2007/08.

Mrs Kayembe said the current debate on the future of policing made setting the budget-setting process an even harder exercise.

She said: “Our decisions were made against the backdrop of the ongoing debate about police force amalgamation.

“Inevitably, there is a degree of uncertainty concerning arrangements for the introduction of strategic forces.

“However, we have taken a positive approach and planned finance not just for the coming year but for the two years that follow to ensure that policing in Suffolk continues to be based on a stable financial platform.”

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