Posted by: westlancashirerecord | January 26, 2018

Death, Taxes, And Clive Grunshaw’s Begging Bowl

Perhaps you are asking yourself why we have to pay so much for central government taxation for services only to find local taxes are being added just to cover the austerity shortfall. We are all now well used to receiving notice of extra charges for council tax, paying for green bin charges and huge increases in senior council management wages.

Death and taxes are the certainties of life. So, now, is the annual appearance of the begging bowl  from Lancashire Police and Crime Commissioner, Clive Grunshaw. He has criticised the Government for forcing the burden of funding policing onto local council tax payers, as the Police and Crime Panel approved his plan for funding Lancashire police.

Presenting his plan to the panel, which includes councillors from across Lancashire, the Commissioner outlined plans to increase the council tax precept by £12 per year, or 23p per week on an average property in 2018/19, safeguarding local police jobs across the county. This followed a consultation with the public where over 78% of those who responded supported increasing the council tax precept by at least 23p per week.

He said “I don’t agree that Council Tax is the best or fairest way to fund the police. Areas with similar budgets to Lancashire, like Essex and Sussex, are able to raise 40-50% more than we can with exactly the same increase in the precept. However, as this is the only tool available to me to ensure there aren’t further cuts to our policing budget, this has to be the course we take”.

Graham Walker from Up Holland has written to the Champion letters . He asks “Where does Grunshaw think money for police increases is coming from” because “Inflation is rising faster than wages and benefits cut”. And he wants the Commissioner to explain how last year’s increase was spent. We can suppose Chief Constable Andy Rhodes has done it for him, as he said “We are extremely grateful to the public for their continued support. This increase in council tax will help to ease the pressures of police budget cuts and maintain police officer and PCSO numbers and I would reassure the public that we will continue to work with the Commissioner to protect front line services and deliver further efficiencies and deliver savings where possible”. That will not appease Mr Walker, whose concern includes “police officers retiring after 25 years service with generous pensions and final golden handshake settlement sums”. Not a lot different from local council senior directors then? 

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