Mayor To Raise Tax To Fund Police and Fire Service

2% increase planned for his portion of council tax next year

Picture: LondonSE1

The Mayor of London plans to raise council tax across the city to fund the police and fire service.

Sadiq Khan will also increase funding for his Violence Reduction Unit to £5 million in the next financial year.

There have been more killings in the capital in 2019 than any year since 2008.

And knife crime continues to rise, with more than 15,000 attacks in 2018/19, according to Home Office data.

The Mayor now plans to increase his council tax precept – the amount of money he instructs borough councils to collect on his behalf – by 1.99 per cent.

This means people living in Band D properties would pay £6.41 more each year – or 12 pence extra a week.

Three quarters of this additional money will go to the Met, with the remainder allocated to the London Fire Brigade.

Currently, those in Band D properties pay £320.51 to City Hall each year.

Under the new plans this would rise to £326.92 – the second lowest tax hike since Mr Khan took office in 2016.

The Mayor will also increase annual funding for the Violence Reduction Unit from £1.8 million to £5 million – almost tripling his spend on the project.

Set up last year, the unit brings together medical experts, police, local councils, probation services and community groups to tackle violence in the city.

It is part of the Mayor’s longterm public health approach to violent crime, which takes its lead from successful schemes in Glasgow and the USA.

The extra money will come from cuts to the GLA budget, and to a major west London regeneration scheme, Old Oak Park Development Corporation.

The Government has also promised to spend more on police across the country, pledging an extra 20,000 officers nationally.

The Mayor and Met Commissioner Cressida Dick say London needs 6,000 of these new police to tackle serious crime.

This would bring total police numbers in the capital to a record 37,000.

But the Government has not yet announced how much they will invest in policing – and the Mayor believes he will need an extra £480 million by 2024.

Mr Khan said he would review the planned increase to council tax once the central government grant has been confirmed – meaning it could still rise.

He said: “There is continuing uncertainty over the Government’s funding plans, which impacts our ability to recruit the police officers London needs.

“Without sustained Government investment in policing to reverse ministers’ decade of cuts, I am once again left with little choice but to raise council tax in order to tackle violent crime.”

Jessie Matthewson - Local Democracy Reporter

January 3, 2020