Dudley North MP Ian Austin has criticised Andy Street’s call to hit residents with a council tax increase to pay for policing and said he should be demanding a fair deal from the government instead.
The West Midlands Mayor has urged the Government to give West Midlands Police 'greater flexibility' to increase its council tax precept, which is currently the second lowest in the country.
Austin says the Mayor’s plan would mean increasing the precept by a massive 50%, hitting council tax payers with an average increase of £60 a year.
Street’s call for greater flexibility came shortly after a visit from Policing Minister Nick Hurd MP to the West Midlands in which he signalled a better funding settlement is on its way.
Ian Austin said:
“If the council tax precept was increased to the average comparable police area in England it would mean an increase for every household in the Black Country and wider West Midlands of £60.
“The government has hit West Midlands Police with deeper cuts than almost anywhere else in the country, we’ve lost £145 million and 2000 police officers and half our PCSOs, but instead of standing up for local people, Andy Street wants to hit them with an even bigger council tax bill.
“We’ve been hit with deeper cuts than wealthier areas like leafy Surrey and instead of demanding a fair deal from the government our Mayor wants local people to foot the bill.
“I have been campaigning alongside Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson for more funding so I am glad Andy Street has finally got on board, but I think we need a Mayor who will lead on issues not follow others.”