PCC Martin Surl seeking Gloucestershire residents' thoughts on potential council tax increase

First published in News Gazette Series: Photograph of the Author by , senior reporter covering Dursley, Cam, Wotton-under-Edge, Sharpness, Slimbridge, Berkeley, Coaley, Uley, North Nibley, Stinchcombe and Cambridge

COUNCIL tax-payers in Gloucestershire could be asked to contribute up to an extra £5.99 this year towards making their communities safer.

The figure is equivalent to a two per cent increase in council tax on the average Band D property, and is one of the proposals in a draft budget currently being prepared by the county’s Police and Crime Commissioner.

Martin Surl is seeking the views of the public, business and other local organisations and has extended the consultation period beyond the original deadline.

He will ask the county’s police and crime panel to confirm the Police and Crime budget, which currently is £105 million, when it meets on February 6.

Among the options under consideration:

  • An increase of 1 per cent = £2.00 a year for an average Band D householder and will raise around £0.450m
  • An increase of 2 per cent = £3.99 a year for an average Band D householder and will raise around £0.900m
  • An increase of 3 per cent = £5.99 a year for an average Band D householder and will raise around £1.350m.

“The question of the council tax cropped-up many times during the election campaign and I promised I would be transparent, so I am trying to get as many views as I can before making a final decision,” said Mr Surl.

“Everyone knows how hard it is to make ends meet at the moment but all of the options under consideration are less than the 3.9 per cent increase the Police Authority was planning as part of its mid-term financial strategy.

“On the one hand the Government is suggesting we freeze council tax but on the other it’s reduced our grant by nearly two per cent. That means that if we leave the tax as it is, we won’t be able to absorb the cuts the Government expects us to make next year and in subsequent years without affecting frontline services.

“Because of future spending restrictions the Government has in the pipeline, this could be our final chance to raise money to invest in the service for some time to come.”

You can have your say by contacting the commissioner at budget@gloucestershire.police.uk or by writing to 1 Waterwells, Waterwells Drive, Quedgeley, Gloucester, GL2 2AN.

Comments have to be in by noon on Monday, January 28.

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