COVENTRY people could be charged up to £5 more in Council Tax to pay for police cuts.
West Midlands Police escaped the level of cuts feared from chancellor George Osborne’s spending review last month – and has been given government permission to increase their portion of council tax above the previous 2 per cent cap.
It is estimated government funding for next year still amounts to 1.3per cent cut in real terms.
It follows unprecedented cuts to police funding of over 20 per cent which has resulted in over 2000 officer and civilian job losses since 2010.
That led to the region’s Labour MPs including Coventry’s Jim Cunningham and Geoffrey Robinson joining a campaign for ‘fairer funding’ for the West Midlands force – hit twice as hard as better off areas in the south of England.
The so-called ‘precept’ on Council Tax charged by the police can be raised from April to around £5, home secretary Theresa May has confirmed in a letter to police chiefs.
Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson said a final decision had yet to be taken, but the force was already planning to charge the maximum amount – which would raise £3.5million a year.
He has also written to the Home Secretary about funding. There had previously been fears of a further cull of police support officers and other roles from another massive government funding cut up to 2020.
The letter states: “If I am correct and the amount of local police funding is in fact cut, some may portray the Chancellor’s assertion that police funding has been protected as a deception.
“I challenge the Home Office to allay my fears on this crucial matter as soon as possible. I am in the process of planning my budget for next year and need clarity on this pressing matter.”
Full details of the police funding are set to be announced on December 17.
Mr Jamieson still fears funding for counter-terrorism could effectively be cut.