Police force’s council tax precept rise to be capped

Ministers have confirmed plans to cap Warwickshire Police’s council tax charges next year, but rejected calls to freeze bills.

Local Government Minister John Healey said the force would be limited to a three per cent increase in the precept charged to residents, which is added to council tax bills, following this year’s mammoth 13 per cent rise.

But he ruled out suggestions from a Warwickshire MP that the force should be ordered to impose no increase at all.

It followed Warwickshire’s decision earlier this year to increase the police element of council tax by 12.87 per cent, a total increase of £18.78 over the year for a Band D home.

The decision infuriated ministers, who had urged all local authorities, including police authorities, to limit themselves to an increase of five per cent.

The three per cent limit was confirmed by Mr Healey as he set out plans for local government spending, following the pre-budget report this week.

He said: “We are today designating the police authorities of Cheshire, Leicestershire and Warwickshire, and proposing maximum budget requirements that will limit their council tax increases to about three per cent next year.”

A spokeswoman for Warwickshire Police Authority said: “The authority will meet in due course to progress the budget setting process for 2009-10 and consider the implications for the delivery of policing services in Warwickshire. It is not possible to comment further.”