South Yorkshire’s emergency services will increase their share of the council tax bill this year.
Police and Crime Commissioner Dr Alan Billings has decided on a rise of 3.26 per cent – the maximum allowed by the Government – for 2017/18.
This will mean an increase of about 6p per week for band A taxpayers.
The South Yorkshire Fire Authority will increase its share by 1.97 per cent, equivalent to about 2p per week.
The police increase will be used to keep officer and PCSO numbers at current levels. Dr Billings said the decision was made after consultation with people across the county, with 90 per cent willing to pay a little more for policing.
He added: “Even so, this still requires the police service to find further savings. This is because the police grant from central government has been cut and there will be extra costs due to such things as increases in salaries and utility bills which are ignored by central government.”
“A pattern is developing. The Government is cutting the amount it gives to police and crime commissioners year on year and making us find the difference locally.
“This is manifestly unfair because in an area like South Yorkshire, council taxpayers are nowhere near as wealthy as other parts of the country, such as Surrey.”
The fire service increase will raise an extra £441,000 per year. But South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue expects to lose £2 million of Government funding in 2017/18.
Vice chairman of the fire authority Coun Alan Atkin said: “We are absolutely committed to providing the best possible fire and rescue service to the people of South Yorkshire. That is why we are asking people to pay just over 2p per week more for their fire service.
“I understand the economic hardship being felt by households. However, this small increase helps us to balance the fire service’s budget and protect its assets in the long term.”