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Police authority capped

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Surrey councils face a costly rebilling exercise after the police authority had its council tax capped by local government minister John Healey.

The authority said rebilling would cost £1.2m, on top of the expected £1.4m that will be handed back to taxpayers.

Bob Jones (Lab), chair of the Association of Police Authorities, called the government’s move “ludicrous”.

He said: “This seems to be about macho posturing rather than any attempt to secure value for money for local residents.”

Mr Healey acted after the authority increased its precept by 4.89%, below the 5% limit but higher than permitted against a ‘notional’ budget set by the government when Surrey was capped the previous year.

He admitted the cap would save band D taxpayers just £3.18, but said: “In this tough economic climate council taxpayers are rightly looking to their local authorities to provide good value for money and keep council tax bills down.”

Derbyshire Police Authority has had its £165m budget cut by a notional £1.6m, which means that any tax increase next year must be set against this lower budget total.

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