Derbyshire council tax precept rise “unfair”

Cllr Alan Charles Police and Crime Commissioner for Derbyshire
Cllr Alan Charles Police and Crime Commissioner for Derbyshire

Derbyshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner Alan Charles has said he will not be looking to raise the council tax precept in the county to help pay for the shortfall in police funding.

His comments came after Surrey’s Police and Crime Commissioner Kevin Hurley called for a rise in the council tax precept in his county to increase by up to 25 per cent to make up for cuts to government grants.

But Mr Charles said that while Derbyshire Constabulary needs to save a further £23.5 million over the next four or five years, he would not be following suit in Derbyshire, because he didn’t think it would be “fair”.

He added: “The difference between Derbyshire and Surrey is the way we are financed. We get some money from the government and some from the council precept.

“In Derbyshire, because the house prices are far lower than in Surrey, the amount raised by the council precept is far lower so we rely more on government money.

“So when the government cuts grants, it hits police forces like Derbyshire a lot harder than in somewhere like Surrey where they raise about 50 per cent of their funding from the local council tax precept.

“The house values there are far higher there so they’ve got a bigger yield. For every one per cent council tax is increased, we would get half a million pounds. In Surrey, they would get one million pound which is twice as much.

“I’m not thinking of doing it because if I was, it would cost £1 million to hold a referendum so we’d have to be looking to increase it to around ten per cent to make it even worth thinking about. I don’t think that is fair to the people of Derbyshire.”

In Derbyshire, over 450 police officers and staff have been cut over the last four years, with a similar number of cuts looking necessary in the next five years, Mr Charles added.