Police element of Suffolk council tax bills up 6.8% after PCC rise accepted

Tim Passmore

Tim Passmore - Credit: Archant

The police element of council tax bills in Suffolk is to go up by 6.8% – £9.30 a year for Band B properties – after the rise was backed by the official watchdog.

Suffolk Police and Crime Commissioner Tim Passmore set the increase after funding rules were relaxed by the government just before Christmas.

However it still had to be approved by the Police and Crime Panel of Suffolk councillors before it could be levied.

Mr Passmore told the meeting that he remains deeply frustrated by the way the government funds Suffolk police. He said: “Suffolk gets one of the worst deals from central government over policing. We have tried very hard to speak to government to explain that Suffolk has a poor policing settlement by nothing seems to change.”

This year the government announced days before Christmas that PCCs would be able to raise up to £12 a year more from Band D properties (a small minority of homes in Suffolk) which equates to 6.8% here.

Answering a question from Labour councillor Peter Gardiner about a survey he ran that showed that 66% of people backed the rise, Mr Passmore said he was unhappy with how the announcement had been made.

He said: “I think it is stark raving bonkers to come up with this reform just before Christmas.” There was no time for any detailed discussion before the decision on council tax had to be made so the survey was the only way of giving people a say.

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Waveney Council leader Mark Bee felt it was wrong to focus on the percentage rise. He said: “The police element is only about 10% of the total council tax bill. The sum is £7.98 a year for someone in a Band A property – that is a very small amount, less than the price of a postage stamp on a weekly basis.

“But I think this does come down to the issue of paying for public services. Everyone seems to want to have good public services – but there is always resistance to paying for them.

“In a few weeks I shall be saying similar things when our council tax level is set.”

Raising the precept will increase the police budget by £2.9m to £125m, which should maintain visibility on the county’s roads.

It should also fund further investment in technology to help tackle drug misuse and youth gang violence.