THE Government has backed down after threatening to cap Cheshire Police Authority’s spending.
Capping would have meant the Government setting a lower budget than the authority approved in February, requiring new Council Tax bills to be sent out.
However, the Government intends to take action to protect Council Tax-payers in future by limiting the Council Tax precept increases in 2009-10 and 2010-11 to 3% in each year.
The news came in a written statement to the Commons by the Minister for Local Government, John Healey.
Police authority chairman Peter Nurse said: “This is good news for Cheshire. The authority is delighted that the Government has decided not to cap the 2008-09 budget for policing in Cheshire. Residents told us that they wanted to see improvements in policing services and that they were prepared to pay more.
“We do, however, need to consider the second part of the minister’s statement, which restricts Council Tax increases in the next two years to only 3%.
“This will be very challenging, particularly with the threat of rising inflation. We will consider this carefully in the coming months as we plan next year’s budget and may need to discuss this further with the Government.”
Cheshire Police Authority says its £168m budget – £50m of which is funded by Council Tax – will allow continued investment in neighbourhood policing.