5:30pm Sunday 19th February 2012
By Natalie Crockett
GWENT council tax payers will pay more towards policing services in 2012/13 as the police authority agreed a 2.66 per cent rise.
The decision was taken by members while setting the force’s £117,453,209 million budget.
In doing so they also agreed the use of £400,000 from police authority reserves to keep the precept level down.
This means the average band D household will pay around £193.09 over 2012/13 for police services, which is an increase of around £5 on last year.
The amount will be set on top of the figures agreed by county borough councils for their council tax, and in some areas, town or community council also charge their own separate precept.
Newport councillor Ed Townsend voiced his opposition to the use of reserves and said members had a duty to be prudent on the behalf of the people they represent.
But Caerphilly councillor Colin Mann said there were people in the community who were struggling to put food on the table and the use of reserves to keep the increase down would lessen the burden.
He said: “It’s not just about the people in this room, it’s about the half million people out there who we all represent.”
Speaking after the meeting Gwent police authority chairwoman Cilla Davies said the "modest" increase was necessary to ensure the force could continue to provide an effective, efficient and sustainable police service.
The force needs to save £16.7 million over the next four years due to a 20 per cent cut in the money it receives from the government.
The budget reports anticipates there will be no recruitment of police officers or staff during 2012/13.
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