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Khan floats 5.1% tax hike to fund police and fire services

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has today proposed a 5.1% tax increase – the highest raise allowed by government.

Khan says all additional money raised will go to the Metropolitan Police and London Fire Brigade to make up for central government cuts.

On Tuesday last week, the government announced that it would be allowing a policing precept council tax increase of £12 without having to hold a referendum, but would not be increasing its own police funding.

An increase in this tax across the country is expected to raise around £450m, although some critics say this falls short and puts even greater pressure on councils.

Following a difficult year for London, which has seen four terror attacks and the tragic Grenfell Tower fire, the mayor attacked ministers for the lack of a funding increasing, claiming they should “hang their heads in shame.”

He said fire and police services were a vital measuring in stopping the threats that the capital faces in keeping its people safe.

“The government has refused to back the Metropolitan Police or the London Fire Brigade with the money they need and so I have been left with no choice but to propose increasing council tax to protect our city from the threats that we face,” Khan continued.

“For the government to pretend they are riding to the rescue of the police with £450m extra funding would be laughable if the impact on public safety wasn’t so serious. The facts are, the government have not increased funding and are expecting council taxpayers to pick up most of the bill and it still doesn’t undo the cuts they’ve imposed on the police.”

He has control of two separate tax-based funding pots, the police precept and the non-police precept. One directly funds policing while the other is for general services.

In his latest plan, the mayor will look to increase both by the maximum amounts available, with the additional funding generated by the general tax increase split between his Office for Policing and Crime and the London Fire Brigade.

These proposals would see the taxpayer cost across the Greater London Authority (GLA) increase from £280.02 to £294.22 a year for a band D property – split between a policing precept increase from £206.13 to £218.13 and a non-policing precept rise from £73.89 to £76.09.

Projections split the money between £639m to support the Metropolitan Police service, £147m for the London Fire Brigade and £76m for other services such as transport and the GLA itself.

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