WIGAN Town Hall received an unexpected funding boost as a result of a cap placed on how much police chiefs can add to tax bills.
Local government secretary Eric Pickles yesterday restricted police precept increases to two per cent – the equivalent of £2.97 per household.
Greater Manchester Police and Crime Commissioner’s Tony Lloyd had asked for residents to contribute an extra £5 per year to offset dwindling police budgets.
Wigan Council had in turn agreed to offset the increase as part of their council tax freeze pledge, meaning the reduced rate will mean less money allocated from council funds.
However, Mr Lloyd criticised Mr Pickles’s decision.
He said: “This means that we have to find an additional £1.38m to save on top of more than £19m of cuts already announced for the coming year.
“My proposal was agreed locally by the police and crime panel and I was consulting local people.
“But it would appear that Eric Pickles knows best. Perhaps he can explain to local people where we can find more than £1m to cut from the policing and community safety budget.
“The effect of this spiteful, politically-motivated decision is that local people will suffer.
“This Government has already slashed more than £103m from our local police budget.
“We’ve lost well over 1,100 police officers and crime is on the rise. The Government needs to realise that this reckless programme of ideologically-driven cuts is damaging local communities.”
Lord Smith reiterated that Wigan borough residents will not be affected by the increase, whatever the amount.
He told the Evening Post: “The increase of £2.97 per household for the police will be covered from our budget this year.
“We know that many people have not received an increase to their income and are struggling with the increased cost of living.”
The proposed increase of £5 was for band D properties - working out at 40p per month.
Residents across Greater Manchester look set instead to pay £2.97, the equivalent of 25p per month for an average property.