Elected mayors to add their own charges to council tax bills to cope with increased cuts
Council tax in Greater Manchester is set to rise as of April 2018.
The Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) has faced increased austerity measures since 2010, which have seen budgets reduced by almost a third. As an attempt to cope with these cuts, households in the Greater Manchester area could face the brunt of the costs due to increases in council tax.
The overall yearly increases are dependent on council banding and range from £14 to £42 and will help fund policing and Andy Burnham’s mayoral office.
The new ‘mayoral charge’ will be in addition to police and fire taxes. Average households (Band B) will pay an additional £7 a year to “help deliver Mayoral priorities” that focus on the revised Greater Manchester Spatial Framework, tackling congestion, and eradicating rough-sleeping by 2020.
The precept would also contribute towards funding the administration and office costs for Andy Burnham himself.
The Mayor has said: “I recognise that it is a big ask for people to pay more, especially in these difficult times. But at the same time, I am facing pressure from the public to go further and faster on tackling homelessness and congestion while protecting green spaces. I have tried to get the balance right, keeping bills down but also keeping Greater Manchester leading the way.”
In addition to this, GMCA have confirmed plans to raise the police element of council tax. Band B properties will incur an additional annual fee of £9.33, while those in Band G will face an increase of £20.
Local police services receive funding from central Government. However, this grant has been cut by £250 million since 2010, resulting in a loss of 2,000 police officers and 1,000 non-police staff.
It is believed that the increased police charges will generate an additional £8 million funding, which will be used to enhance essential services, such as recruiting 50 additional police officers, improving the non-emergency 101 service and maintaining PCSO numbers.
Bev Hughes, Deputy Mayor, said: “This increase will not make up for the hundreds of millions of pounds the government has cut from our police service but will help to mitigate to some extent the worst effects of these continued cuts.”
Andy Burnham has assured that the budget for Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service will be protected, remaining at £46.62 for the average Band B property.
The proposals will be discussed at Friday’s (January 26) meeting of the Greater Manchester Combined Authority, ahead of the final budget-setting meeting in February.