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West Mids to defer mayoral precept for one year

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Plans for a mayoral precept for the West Midlands CA are expected to be postponed until the following financial year, according to a budget report due to go before the body’s board on Friday.

The precept would have added £10.80 to the council tax bill for band D properties, but the WMCA cabinet voted against its approval at a previous meeting on January 12. The precept was expected to raise £7.5m per year towards transport infrastructure and administrative costs for mayor Andy Street’s (Con) office.

LGC previously reported how Mr Street wanted to use the money to invest in transport improvements, and told LGC he thought the public would back his proposals.

According to the report, plans to “defer” the precept will not have a “material effect” on the WMCA’s planned £483.7m investment programme for 2018-19 to 2020-21.

report from the CA’s overview and scrutiny committee said members were “concerned at the cumulative impact of council tax rises”. A subsequent meeting of constituent members recommended against raising a precept in order to “reduce the burden on hard pressed households”.

The WMCA board is expected to agree on Friday a deferral until 2019-20, which the CA would then be “minded to support” the precept.

Of the £10.80 raised per band D household, £8.80 had been designated towards the upkeep of the transport network which will now be funded through a continuation of the Transport for West Midlands levy which is funded by the constituenty councils on the CA.

The transport levy raises £121.5m a year and matches the amount forecast for transport delivery over the next three years.

The overview and scrutiny committee also recommended next year’s budget process be moved forward from December to September in order to “allow sufficient time” for discussion and development.

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