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Manchester Evening News
Manchester Evening News
Joseph Timan

All Greater Manchester households will pay up to £40 more a year in council tax

All Greater Manchester households will pay up to £40 a year more in council tax from April. Mayor Andy Burnham and the 10 council leaders in the city-region have now approved a 6 pc increase in the parts of the bill which go towards the police and the fire service – although some bits have been frozen.

Every household which does not receive council tax support or discounts will now pay at least £234.16 a year towards Greater Manchester-wide services. But the largest share of the council tax bill will be set by each local authority.

The annual increase will range from £13.33 to £40 depending on which council tax band each property falls into. However, almost two-thirds of homes in Greater Manchester are either Band A or B properties which means most that households would be charged no more than an extra £15.56 over 12 months.

READ MORE: Clean Air Zone charges 'highly unlikely' except in two Greater Manchester boroughs, Andy Burnham says

From April, the total annual cost of these council tax precepts will be:

  • Band A: £234.16 (up by £13.33)
  • Band B: £273.19 (up by £15.56)
  • Band C: £312.21 (up by £17.77)
  • Band D: £351.25 (up by £20.00)
  • Band E: £429.29 (up by £24.44)
  • Band F: £507.35 (up by £28.89)
  • Band G: £585.41 (up by £33.33)
  • Band H: £702.50 (up by £40.00)

The largest of these council tax hikes will be under the police precept which will increase by £15 for Band D properties, while the part of the bill which goes towards the fire and rescue service will rise by £5. The increases have been blamed on the impact of inflation on frontline services, but local leaders say they have taken the impact the cost of living is on residents into account too.

The general mayoral precept in the council tax bill set by Mr Burnham will still help pay for emergency accommodation for rough sleepers, free bus travel for 16 to 18-year-olds and the move to bring all buses under public control by January 2025. However, these charges will be frozen for the next financial year.

The Greater Manchester mayor said: "I’m fully aware of the pressure on household budgets caused by the cost of living crisis. Runaway inflation has put pressure on our frontline services too, so I’ve had to balance out trying to keep the precept increase to what we absolutely need to avoid cuts to the frontline in our police and fire and rescue services.

"It’s also important we do what we can to continue to help ease some of the cost of living pressures on our residents which is why I will continue to fund emergency homelessness accommodation, and support for young people and bus passengers through cheaper travel."

Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham at the GMCA meeting where the budget was approved (GMCA)

Budgets for the next financial year - including council tax increases - were approved by the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) last week. Local leaders agreed that council tax will continue to support reform of bus services as they are brought under the Bee Network - an integrated ‘London-style’ transport system - and help fund franchised services from September.

They also agreed that the Our Pass scheme, which offers free bus travel within Greater Manchester for 16-18 year-olds, will still be funded by mayoral precept too, extending the scheme by a further 12 months from September 2023. It comes after local leaders also agreed to make the pilot scheme permanent.

Mr Burnham's general budget - which is supported by the council tax precept - will continue to fund the ‘A Bed Every Night’ emergency response scheme to reduce rough sleeping in Greater Manchester as well as supporting local schemes and homelessness partnerships. This homelessness scheme also receives financial support from the Greater Manchester Integrated Health and Care Partnership, Probation Service and other organisations in the city-region.

Council leaders approved these budgets on Friday (February 10). This included additional funding for the fire service to be covered by a council tax increase.

The GMCA has said that this increase in the fire precept is necessary to make sure that firefighter numbers remain above what Mr Burnham inherited in 2017 when took office. It is also needed to support the fire and rescue service in making improvements such as training staff to respond to terrorist attacks.

However, the increase has mainly been attributed to record high inflation and energy costs which are impacting on the service. Local leaders have blamed the government for not providing enough funding to cover these extra costs.

GMP chief constable Stephen Watson at the Police, Fire and Crime Panel last month (GMCA)

Deputy mayor for policing, crime, criminal justice and fire Kate Green said: "The mayor and I have a responsibility to keep our residents safe and that includes ensuring our police and fire and rescue services have the resources they need to do that. We don’t want to add to people’s financial burdens but we won’t be able to provide the services people want without taking this difficult decision.

"For anyone struggling with their bills, there is a lot of information out there including our Helping Hand website and on their local council websites."

Councillors on Greater Manchester's police, fire and crime panel approved the mayor's proposal to increase the police precept last month. Equating to an extra 83p month for Band A properties, the increase takes the council tax contribution towards Greater Manchester Police to at least £162.20 in total.

Along with the central government policing grant, the police precept will fund new dedicated Neighbourhood Crime Teams in each district to tackle burglary, robbery, vehicle crime and other issues. It will also help retain the workforce levels required to build on recent improvements to 999 and 101 waiting times.

The extra cash is also expected to increase the capacity and capability of crime scene investigators and digital investigators to detect neighbourhood crime and sex offending, including such offences against children. Increased numbers of investigators who conduct initial inquiries when a crime is first reported will also be funded by the additional revenue raised from council tax.

The council tax increase comes after GMP was lifted from special measures last year. However, a public consultation found that fewer than one in eight people who were surveyed supported the proposal to raise the police precept.

More than 60 pc of the 417 people who responded to the survey said they did not support any increase, while only 12 pc said they supported the proposal. Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service has also asked people for their views on how it can most effectively and efficiently provide a modern, flexible and resilient service next year. This public consultation closed on February 8.

Read more of today's top stories here.


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