Council tax increase to fund police approved for all Nottinghamshire homes

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All Nottinghamshire homes will pay more council tax to the police next year after councillors approved an annual hike.

Caroline Henry, Nottinghamshire police and crime commissioner, brought her tax rise forward as she looks to balance the books at Nottinghamshire Police.

The rise was approved by councillors at the latest meeting of the county police and crime panel.

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It means residents living in ‘band A’ homes – the majority in the county – the increase is £9.96 per year, meaning £179.46 is paid in total.

Caroline Henry, Nottinghamshire police and crime commissioner.Caroline Henry, Nottinghamshire police and crime commissioner.
Caroline Henry, Nottinghamshire police and crime commissioner.

Before agreeing to the rise, the panel was told the force’s budgets had been hit by £4 million due to current inflation rates, while a further £13m is also needed to fund staff pay awards, wage increments, restructures and pension contributions.

This has been partly offset by more than £4m in efficiency savings and the council tax hike.

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Nottinghamshire Police is forecast to have a budget of £261.7m in the upcoming financial year, with £89.6m raised through council tax. About £208m in total is spent on staff wages.

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Mrs Henry told the meeting: “It’s not easy when we’ve got the cost-of-living crisis to ask for you to approve a precept increase.

“I know people are struggling and it’s not a decision I’ve taken lightly, but we must recognise the fact the police are facing the same financial pressures as everybody else.

“Our costs are increasing and I have a duty to make sure we have an efficient and effective police force in Nottinghamshire.”

The £14.94 Band D rise was just six pence less than the maximum £15 Mrs Henry is allowed to take.

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It led to some concerns from members of the panel residents will be hit hard.

Coun Stuart Richardson, Mansfield Council’s representative, read a statement from Andy Abrahams, Mansfield mayor.

It said: “This is one of the worst cost-of-living crises for generations.

“Families can barely survive. The commissioner should cut her cloth to meet their needs and not impose a whopping increase.

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“The Conservative Government should not shift the responsibility for funding police onto local government. It’s an underhand way of shifting blame.”

Mrs Henry said she has continued to lobby Westminster for different funding methods to support local police forces.

She said meetings with ministers have led to promises of a review into how forces like Nottinghamshire Police receive funds.

However, Coun Johno Lee, of Newark & Sherwood Council, said: “We have to remember national government, local government and the police don’t hold their own money.

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“No matter whether that funding comes from increasing the precept, national government funding or the county council, it’s still [taxpayers’] money.

“As far as my wallet is concerned, it makes no difference as it’s still coming from my money or my residents’.”

Dstrict and borough councils can increase their bills by 2.99 per cent – working out at slightly more than £3.50 at band A.

Mansfield Council has frozen its bills, while other authorities are beginning to outline their plans this month.