Manchester

Greater Manchester council tax could rise to fund police and firefighters

Andy Burnham Image copyright PA Media
Image caption Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham said he had made "tough decisions" to provide "vital" services

A council tax rise to cover the cost of recruiting more police and fire officers in Greater Manchester has been proposed by the mayor of region.

Andy Burnham wants to increase the annual bill for Band D households by £24 for a year, which is £9 less than last year's rise.

If agreed it will be added to local council tax bills set by each of the 10 Greater Manchester councils.

Mr Burnham said he had made "tough decisions" to provide "vital" services.

"I need to balance providing the vital services people in Greater Manchester need, deal with pressures from cuts by central government, and make sure the burden on council taxpayers is fair," he said.

He said the rise would "ensure we have a fire and police service that can do the job people expect them to do, and provide support to those in our communities who need a little extra help".

The tax increase will help fund the recruitment of 108 firefighters in 2020/21. A public consultation on the police element of the council tax rise is currently under way.

Council tax pays for local services such as social care, parks and bin collections. Part of the bill, called a precept, is assigned to the mayor to help fund the region-wide services he is responsible for.

The mayor's proposal also includes expanding the current Our Pass scheme, a free bus pass for 16-18 year olds, to include free bus travel for carers up to the age of 21.

The final budget will be approved by the Combined Authority meeting on 14 February.

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