Thursday, February 28, 2008

Tories force 79 per cent hike in police council tax...

The Tories on Lincolnshire Police Authority yesterday (Wednesday) forced through an eye-watering hike of 79 yes, SEVENTY-NINE, per cent in council tax bills for policing.

It means council tax payers in Tory Lincolnshire will be forced to pay MORE for policing than anywhere else in the country.

That's despite millions in extra Government funding for policing coming to Lincolnshire over the past ten years.

I'm sick to the back teeth of hearing Tory spin claiming the Labour Government refuses to fund policing in Lincolnshire.

One Tory councillor proposing the 79 per cent increase yesterday told the Authority that the Labour Government didn't care about crime in Lincolnshire.

It's a Tory lie.

The truth is that crime has fallen substantially across Lincolnshire in recent years, partly due to the extra investment, and tough new measures - which ironically Tory MPs voted AGAINST.

On funding, consider these facts:

1. This year, Lincolnshire Police will receive Government grants of WELL OVER £70 million.

2. That's substantially more than the £63 million which was the TOTAL spent on policing Lincolnshire in 1996-97, including all Government grants AND all council tax receipts.

And 1997 of course, was the final year of the Tories in Government

Lincolnshire Police Authority was told yesterday there was a 'budget deficit' next year of almost £6 million.

But the 78.9 per cent increase in the council precept that was forced through by the Tories will raise AN EXTRA £24.3 million - that's FOUR TIMES the so-called 'budget deficit'.

Exactly what the EXTRA millions will be spent on, has yet to be decided in a business plan.

As a member of the Authority, I supported calls for a smaller increase which I believe to be justified.

It's worth noting that in the first round of voting, two of the six Conservative county councillors on the Police Authority - vice-chairman of the Authority Barry Young and Stamford councillor Brian Sumner - also voted for a smaller increase.

Barry Young gave an excellent speech saying why the 79 per cent option was not the right way forward.

But during a break in proceedings, the six Tories were herded into a secret political group meeting.

When they emerged and returned to the main meeting, hey presto: all six - including Barry Young and Brian Sumner - magically put their hands up for an INCREASE of 79 per cent.

Their vote means the 'average' Band D council taxpayer in Lincolnshire will get a bill for £235.35 for policing next year - that's an increase of £2 a week.

I, and others, spoke against the massive increase which I believe is a step too far for hard pressed council taxpayers and makes it more likely that the Government will step in and 'cap' the Police Authority.

9 comments:

Geoffrey G Brooking said...

All thanks to lack of funding from the Labour Government.

fairdealphil said...

Geoffrey:

if you could see beyond the tory spin and hype, you may have noticed (as posted) that

1. This year, Lincolnshire Police will receive Government grants of WELL OVER £70 million.

2. That's substantially more than the £63 million which was the TOTAL spent on policing Lincolnshire in 1996-97, including all Government grants AND all council tax receipts.

An increase was necessary to fill a £6 million budget deficit, but 79 per cent raises an extra £24 million.

This totally destroys Tory claims of keeping council tax low in Lincolnshire.

Geoffrey G Brooking said...

Yesterday morning I listened to the clueless and inept Gillian Merron on Radio Lincolnshire trying to pass the issue of a record increase in the police precept as a cumulative problem caused by the Tory controlled council.

If that's the case, why has her worthless government allowed it to continue for so long without stepping in?

Gillian and New Labour love nothing more than interfering in other people's business so why the reticence this time?

The fact of the matter is that Gillian is fooling nobody.

The blame for this lies solely on the shoulders of a certain useless Prime Minister in Number 10 Downing Street called Gordon Brown!

Why on earth should Council Tax payers have to put up with this?

Funding for the police should come direct from Central Government.

They are the ones ordering the Police Authority in terms of how many PCSOs it should employ and what they should do so surely they are the ones who should foot the bill.

This is yet another New Labour stealth tax being imposed by the back door by a socialist government that is hell bent on turning our country into a police state.

fairdealphil said...

Geoffrey:

Without the Tory county councillors, the 79 per cent increase in council tax demands for policing could not have gotr through yesterday.

As for Government intervention, your wish may come true now they have gone for broke.

On funding, you may be interested in looking up "The Review of Policing" document published a couple of weeks ago by Sir Ronnie Flanaghan, one of the most respected police officers in the country.

He said this:

"Over the last decade, policing in england and Wales has seen major increases in both funding and performance. In ten years, central spending on policing has risen by nearly £5 billion (an increase of 39 per cent in real terms). This extra funding has resulted in a 25% growth in the overall police workforce...

"These additional resources have undoubtedly contributed to a significant improvement in performance, with crime falling by a third since 1997 and public confidence in the police, which had been falling consistently since 1982, rising since 2003/4. "

That's Sir Ronnie Flanaghan, not Gordon Brown!

On the new team of almost 150 police community support officers across Lincolnshire:

Don't have the figures in front of me, but I think you'll find that the bulk of the costs ARE paid for by the Home Office.

On your off the wall claim that Labour is intent on creating a police state, do I take it that you are against the Police Community Support Officers, just as Tory MPs voted against them in Parliament?

Geoffrey G Brooking said...

On the final paragraph yes I am!

fairdealphil said...

sorry to hear you're against PCSOs Geoffrey.

they've been a huge success, and here in Lincolnshire we have almost 150 providing much needed uniforms on the street and reassurance, particularly to the most vulnerable people.

Anonymous said...

Phil,

I am really upset about this issue. I thought the interview by the Chief Constable on local television was "frightening". He specifically stated that the county would lose 25% of officers etc. Neither have I been impressed by the Chair of the Authority. She again was putting fear into local people by threatening a huge rise in the precept. I contacted the Chief Constable to give my concerns in that that a vast majority of residents in the county are on a fixed income. Also, Lincolnshire salaries are the lowest in the East Midlands. These are the ones who will have to bear the brunt of funding which is not good when one reads of the rather generous salaries paid to employees of the police on their website and the generous pension schemes.

The Inspection report in October 2007 indicated that the total budget for the 2007/8 financial year amounted to £90.4m. An apt lesson to us all when one reads the Police Grant Report (England Wales 2008/9). In other words, the grants awarded are not those actually received. I have also studied the police formulae which is the basis of central funding. It seems that in addition to number of residents, recorded crime etc funding is granted on a needs base. It seems fair to me that if you have a lot of commuters, extreme poverty (causes higher crime)huge student population then additional funding is required. The needs based formulae also takes account of traffic, sparsity and area costs. If this formulae is applied across the board then I do not see why Lincolnshire Police are unable to manage within the budget as other forces do. The only figure I cannot obtain is the Area Cost adjustment which is the top up related to hours/earnings/population as at June 2006 etc. I have obtained this from the Home Office but am unable to open their file! In all, the local police do not appear to have made a compelling case for additional funding to the Home Office. Further, I am convinced the decision by the LCC to increase the precept by this huge amount is a "ploy" to force the Home Office's hands. This is a disgrace as their game does not serve local people well. I am so angry that I intend contacting the Home Office, my local MP and also a public interest lawyer to seek redress. I am sick and tired of the griping by the police authority when I compare annual increases which have consistently been above inflation. Even the projected budget for the next year is 3.1% above last years. The problem is that the Authority tend to expect the same one off payments for services to be included - hence they indicate a reduction in funding. An apt case of how to mislead with statistics!

Geoffrey should read the Home Office Select Committee reports on policing as well as Sir Ronnie Flanaghan's. The Select Committee are very critical of performance given such huge increases in funding and staffing as well as the vast increase in fixed penalty notices which are, I understand, included with tics in the detected crime figures. Lincolnshire police may be improving but they still fall short on many areas as reflected in inspection reports and the medias league of statistical data comparing with other police forces.

In despair - Jane

Geoffrey G Brooking said...

The trouble is the fact that the Police are having to meet government targets all the time, meaning that they are having to deal with minor issues which takes them of the streets for a few hours, instead of been able to sort it out using discretion.

I recommend people read a book by David Copperfield, its a good read about the day in a life of a booby, a family member informed me it was exactly what life is like in the Police.

I hope that we now see more real Police Officers on the streets whether in cars or on foot dealing with real crime and catching criminals.

I also think that we the members of the public should be able to have a ride along with officers to see what they are doing in a shift and what they are having to deal with, that way we will know what our money is going on.

Central government dictates what the police spend their time investigating, hence the league tables!!

The police officers all joined to make a difference and this has been eroded by government targets to convince the public that they are being "tough on crime".

fairdealphil said...

'a day in the life of a booby...'

sounds like an interesting book Geoffrey!!

It's not surprising that the government grant of £70 million comes with an expectation to meet some targets - which have helped bring crime down in Lincolnshire.

Without targets and sensible objectives you get the drift we used to get under the Tory Government which saw a massive increase in crime - and real cuts in funding due to Tory economic mismanagement which led to two damaging recessions, runaway inflation and crippling interest rates.

Look at the figures Geoffrey.

Total spending on policing in Lincs in 96-97 was £63 million.

This year we will receive over £70 million from the government alone - plus the cash raised from the council tax.