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ACC SPENDING IN DANGER IF POLICE DO NOT SIGN UP

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The Association of County Councils will have to make swingeing cuts if the new police authorities do not join the a...
The Association of County Councils will have to make swingeing cuts if the new police authorities do not join the association.

Initial estimates of next year's budget have been based on raising £264,600 or 6.5% of its total income from subscriptions from the police authorities.

The ACC is proposing to set up an arms-length committee for the authorities which take over in April. They have been given to the end of January to respond to the invitation.

The figures, which will be presented to the ACC's policy committee next week, show the ACC is planning to pass to councils half the subscription income which could be raised from police authorities.

If all county-based police authorities sign up, the association plans to reduce subscription rates for its council members by 3.3% to reflect their loss of direct control over the police.

Making cuts of over £260,000 would be difficult for the association. Most of its income goes on fixed costs and cuts would have to be made from its staff. But making staff redundant is likely to lead to greater short-term costs.

Councils facing the tightest financial settlement in living memory may also be reluctant to pay increased fees. Members have already had to absorb a 4.9% increase in subscription rates for 1994-95 and also paid a one-off £10,000 levy to cover work on the review.

The association says it is setting up the arms-length committee to ensure the police authorities continue to enjoy the representation to the government and elsewhere which it provides for the existing authorities.

The majority of police authority member will still be drawn from councils but the ACC says it recognises the introduction of non-elected members means the authorities need a 'different and specialist service'.

The new 'committee of local police authorities', consisting of one member from each shire authority, would determine policy independently of the ACC's executive council.

The report on subscriptions says no extra funds will have to be raised for reorganisation campaigning in 1995-96.

It is estimated £225,000 of the special reorganisation levy will be used in 1994-95, leaving a balance of £165,000 for 1995-96.

Total net spending by the ACC is expected to be just over £3.8 million for 1994-95.

The ACC is proposing to draw £130,000 from reserves to meet its share of the set- up costs of the single local authority association.

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