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Burnham unveils precept plans

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Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham (Lab) is proposing to increase annual council tax by about £9 per band D property to fund his mayoral functions.

Unlike any other elected mayor, Mr Burnham also has police and crime commissioner duties. On top of the mayoral precept Mr Burnham is proposing to raise council tax by an extra £12 per band D property per year for the PCC role.

However, Mr Burnham has focused in his announcement on the extra cost to band B properties because more than 82% of properties in Greater Manchester are either in bands A, B or C.

The band B increase for the mayoral precept is £7 while the proposed PCC increase equates to £9.33 per band B property.

If agreed the increases will be added to local council tax bills when they are set by each of the 10 Greater Manchester councils.

Mr Burnham is proposing to use the money to relieve congestion on the region’s roads and recruit at least 50 new neighbourhood police officers.

“I recognise that it is a big ask for people to pay more, especially in these difficult times,” he said. ”But, at the same time, I am facing pressure from the public to go further and faster on tackling homelessness and congestion while protecting green spaces. I have tried to get the balance right, keeping bills down but also keeping Greater Manchester leading the way.”

On the decision to increase the PCC element of council tax bills, Mr Burnham said: “The government’s decision to cut Greater Manchester Police for the eighth year in a row, when the threat level remains high and crime is rising, means we have been left in a difficult position with no real choice but to ask our residents to fill the gap. And with this extra funding GMP will be asked to strengthen neighbourhood policing, ensure a strong police presence across GM and accelerate improvements in the 101 service.”

During a recent public consultation exercise, 74% of the more than 1,800 people backed an increase to fund services.

Earlier this month West Midlands CA mayor Andy Street (Con) was the first to announce a mayoral precept, with plans to add the equivalent of an extra £12 a year on a band D property to raise £7.5m. However, members of the combined authority refused to back the proposal although Mr Street has a chance to bring forward revised proposals before the budget is signed off next month.

Since then Liverpool City Region CA mayor Steve Rotheram (Lab) has announced he will not seek to impose a mayoral precept in 2018-19, while Tees Valley CA mayor Ben Houchen (Con) has also refused to implement a precept.

Only Cambridgeshire & Peterborough CA’s mayor James Palmer (Con) has yet to publicly announce whether he plans to implement a precept or not. West of England CA mayor Tim Bowles (Con) does not have the power to introduce a precept.



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