London

Sadiq Khan proposes council tax rise across London

Sadiq Khan Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The mayor of London says the additional funds will go to the Met Police and the London Fire Brigade

Sadiq Khan plans to increase council tax across the capital to "bridge the gap" in funding faced by the Met Police and London Fire Brigade.

The Mayor of London will use new powers to impose the rise, which he said would inevitably hit the poorest the hardest.

The average Band D taxpayer in the capital will pay £14.20 more per year.

However, Policing Minister Nick Hurd said London needed to see more "action" from Mr Khan "rather than letters calling for more money".

The news comes after the government announced the overall grant for forces in England and Wales will stay the same in cash terms in 2018-19 at £12.6bn.

The mayor's share of council tax is split into money which goes to the Met, called the policing precept, and funds for other services, known as the non-policing precept.

Police and crime commissioners as well as mayors - including Mr Khan - will now be able to raise the policing precept by £12 per household annually.

The mayor's share of council tax is split into money which goes to the Met, called the policing precept, and funds for other services, known as the non-policing precept.

Mr Khan also plans to raise the non-policing precept by the maximum possible amount, to £2.20 per household.

Some of this money will go to the London Fire Brigade.

Mr Khan said: "Ministers should hang their heads in shame at their abject failure to protect Londoners by adequately funding our police and fire service and for leaving it to taxpayers here in London to help to bridge the gap.

'Own political benefit'

"I have been left with no choice but to propose increasing council tax to protect our city from the threats that we face," he added.

"I'm sensitive to the fact that council tax hits those who can least afford to pay it the hardest, so this is certainly not a decision I take lightly."

The increased precept threshold will contribute to an overall injection of £450m into policing, which Mr Hurd described as "comprehensive" and allows local police forces to be "more effective".

Speaking to the House of Commons, Mr Hurd told MPs the Met Police is "rightly the best-resourced police force in the country in terms of numbers of police officers and funding per head."

He added: "What we need to see from him [Mr Khan] is action rather than more letters calling for more money."

London Assembly Conservative group leader Gareth Bacon said it was "logical for the mayor to use the additional tax raising powers" to increase funding for the Met as "that is why the government announced them this week".

However, he said Mr Khan knew "full well that the fire brigade does not require additional funding" and accused him of "grandstanding for his own political benefit."

People have until 12 January to comment on the mayor's proposed budget, which will then be agreed on 22 February.

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