When news happens, text LT and your photos and videos to 80360. Or contact us by email or phone.
Council tax rise to fund Lancashire Constabulary
LANCASHIRE Constabulary has won its fight to increase the council tax precept by 2.5 per cent, rather than taking a one-off £2million government grant.
Members of the Lancashire Police Authority (LPA) voted to increase the precept by £3.66 by a majority of 12 to four, after hearing that accepting the grant would increase deficits in the future.
Lancashire Constabulary has to make £42million savings over four years as part of Government cut backs.
By March – two years into the scheme – £33million cuts will already have been made, and constabulary bosses will know where a total of £39million is coming from.
But a further £4million cuts need to be found, something Chief Constable Steve Finnigan said would increase to £5.7million by 2013/14 if the grant was taken, because of a lower council tax baseline.
Raising the precept by 2.5 per cent will generate another £1.7million income.
He said: “If the £4million becomes £5.7million, then I will have to make cuts to the front line. Don’t break the business.
There is a real fragility in departments of the constabulary that could end up being broken if we’re not careful.”
Member Amanda Webster said: “If we take the grant we are cheating the people of Lancashire. It is not ‘free money’. We have got to support the police by not taking any more money out.”
Opponents, including Conservative members of the LPA, said the public would be “miffed” that a grant was being refused, and it wasn’t certain that the grant would not be repeated next year.
County Coun George Wilkins said: “We have a moral responsibility to accept the grant and live within our means.”
After the vote was taken, Chief Constable Finnigan said he was please and that the 2.5 per cent increase was “for the best for the communities of Lancashire.”
He said: “The grant was here-today-gone-tomorrow and although it would bring in £300,000 more in one year, that would then have to be paid for in subsequent years.”