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Double whammy for RCT residents with 7% Police tax rise

January 28, 2013 10:00 PM

I wonder how many of the (comparatively few) people who voted for Alun Michael to become the Police and Crime Commissioner for South Wales police anticipated that one of his first acts would be to increase the Police precept by a whacking 7%. This at a time when his Labour colleagues never tire of telling us how much people are suffering because of the recession and how their party is allegedly protecting the people of Wales from the worst of it.

As usual they would like to have everyone believe it is the fault of the UK coalition Government, and the well worn line about 'draconian cuts' is yet again dragged out. Yet the concerns over funding of South wales Police are far from new.

In February 2010 - when Labour were in Government at Westminster let us not forget - the precept was increased by 5%. At the time Chairman of the Authority, and leader of RCT Council Russell Roberts, said: "Setting the budget is made even more difficult this year as we have had to balance the operational needs of the force against the financial worries faced by the public in South Wales."

Chief Constable Peter Vaughan was reported as saying that' Government cutbacks next year could push South Wales Police "off the edge of the financial precipice".' That of course referred to planned cut backs by the then Labour UK Government.

Asking for the extra 7% Alun Michael said "I was shocked to find how far we have been disadvantaged compared to other forces, and to discover how far the money raised locally from the police precept for South Wales Police has fallen short compared to the other Welsh police forces."

This is unbelievable. Until he resigned to stand for election as Commissioner he had been MP for Cardiff South for 25 years, and served in the Home Office - not to mention his brief spell as First Secretary for Wales. He obviously hasn't been paying a great deal of attention.

Still he is not alone in this hypocritical stance. His associates in Rhondda Cynon Taff are planning on raising the Council Tax by 3.95%. They too blame Westminster, despite the fact that Local Government is devolved and the Welsh Government sets their budget. They too forget the criticism they levelled at Ministers in the Bay prior to the 2009 and 2010 budgets.

Hopefully the electorate have better memories.

Karen Roberts

Campaign Manager RCT Welsh Liberal Democrats