West Yorkshire council taxpayers to face hike as policing precept increases by nearly 5 per cent

West Yorkshire ratepayers are facing yet another bills hike, after a rise in the policing precept was approved.

The increase will generate nearly £10m more for frontline policing.
The increase will generate nearly £10m more for frontline policing.

The precept, which is added onto council tax bills to help fund the cost of tackling crime in the region, will rise by just over 4.7 per cent from April.

In practice, people living in homes classed as Band A will have to pay an extra £6.67 as their annual bill rises to £147.52.

Band B properties will see an increase of £7.79 to an overall bill of £172.11.

The mayor said she believed people wanted to feel "safe and secure" and see more police on the streets.

A panel of councillors from across West Yorkshire unanimously approved the increase on Friday, which had been put forward by the region's mayor and policing commissioner Tracy Brabin.

Ms Brabin said the rise, which will bring in an extra £9.6m over the year, will provide more resources to stretched frontline policing.

She also cited the public support for the increase that emerged from a recent consultation and said the precept in West Yorkshire remains the fourth lowest across England and Wales.

She told the panel meeting: "The public want to feel safe and they want to see more police officers on the street. They also want justice when things go wrong.

West Yorkshire mayor Tracy Brabin became policing commissioner after her election last year, replacing Mark Burns-Williamson.

"We are mindful of people's budgets and the pressures on people's outgoings, but we know that in order to deliver on the police and crime plan we require the additional £10 (annual increase for a Band D property)."

The meeting also heard claims the government has told commissioners to raise the precept, or else face losing out on more investment.

Several councillors said they felt they had "no choice" but to approve the rise under those circumstances.

Bradford councillor Richard Dunbar (Labour), attacked the government's Levelling Up agenda as a "vacuous concept", which he added "does nothing for the people of West Yorkshire".

He told the mayor: "The government I think have forced you into this position. I don't think you've taken this decision lightly."

However, Kirklees councillor Mark Thompson (Conservative) said that while he would vote for the rise, he wanted more from the police.

He claimed that ward funding for his Birstall and Birkenshaw ward had been spent on helping local police officers pass motorcycle driving tests.

He said: "Yes, I agree we have to pay for the precept ,as long as the police are then delivering and delivering efficiently.

"I don't think we should have to use additional money from our wards that could be spent on enhancing our communities, rather than on tests.

"They shouldn't be coming cap in hand to us."

That hike was only approved by a knife edge eight-to-seven vote, in stark contrast to Friday's unanimous verdict.

Local Democracy Reporting Service