Cumbria’s crime commissioner has received unanimous support of the Police and Crime Panel on the proposals to increase the policing portion of the council tax precept.
It is proposed that the policing part of the council tax precept is increased by 55p a month for a band D property.
In Cumbria, the largest number of properties fall into a band B so for most residents the increase is 43p a month equalling £5.11 a year.
The Government proposed a £!5 a year increase for the police element of the council tax.
Crime commissioner Peter McCall launched a consultation survey last month, asking people if they agreed with the increase of 55p a month for a band D property.
The outcome of the public consultation was 69 per cent in favour.
Council tax is also made up of precepts from the county council, district council, and parish council. The county council takes the lion’s share of council tax, although it is collected by district councils.
Mr McCall said: “I am grateful to not only have the support of the police and crime panel in my decision to raise the policing element of the council tax but also the support of the public as well.
“I do of course appreciate that nobody welcomes an increase of any kind of tax, but that the public do recognise the need to maintain our essential police service which has been so critical in keeping us all safe through this most difficult year.
“The past year has been a hard year for many, with families and businesses facing social and financial uncertainties, especially here in Cumbria where many of us rely on the tourism and hospitality industry.
“The police cannot be funded by the Government alone which is why there is a policing element in council tax for Cumbria police to maintain and improve their services.
“The Government is allowing police and crime commissioners to raise the policing element of council tax by £15.
“I understand that almost all areas in the country will be increasing precept by the full £15 or near to it.
“Whilst there is no question that such a rise would allow us to make further investment in policing, I simply do not believe that it would be right to make such an increase when so many residents are under financial pressure as a result of COVID-19.
“The Chief Constable shares my view and that is why we have set the increase at less than 50 per cent of the amount allowed.
“It’s always a difficult decision to raise council tax, I wish I did not have to increase it at all but, I have to be realistic and we must maintain the improvements to policing which we have achieved in recent years.
“I am grateful for the support of the panel and the public, I know that it is the right decision for our county.”
Final approval for the budget will take place at the commissioner’s public accountability conference on February 19.