Liverpool

Extra £16 council tax fee for Liverpool City Region mayor

Steve Rotheram Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Steve Rotheram says the additional cost will pay dividends for the Liverpool City Region

An extra charge on this year's council tax bill has been proposed to pay for the Liverpool City Region's mayor.

Householders will be charged an average of about £16 annually to pay for Steve Rotheram's £77,500 salary, as well as his transport and housing projects.

The precept, expected to raise £7.6m per year, will also cover the general running costs of the mayor's office.

Mr Rotheram said funding cuts had left him with "no option" but the Taxpayers' Alliance said it was "insensitive".

John O'Connell, the campaign group's chief executive, said: "It's easy for those on a government payroll to call for higher taxes, but for any family struggling with the cost of living, £16 isn't a negligible amount.

"Local taxpayers will wonder whether this additional cost will result in better public services or if the money would be better off going towards essential services like bin collection and social care."

The proposals, to be considered at a Combined Authority meeting on 1 February, will outline a programme of the mayor's priorities including jobs, transport, digital connectivity and housing.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption A population of roughly 1.5 million taxpayers from across the region will pay the charge, the mayor's office said

Mr Rotheram said he had "no option" but to impose the charge after his office had "repeatedly lobbied" without success for more central government funding.

He said: "We know that this is an added burden and so have kept that contribution as low as possible. For 95% of residents, it will be no more than 32p per week.

"In the face of continuing austerity we cannot expect our six local authorities to carry on funding the combined authority.

"The devolution deal is the only way we can secure the funds we need to transform our city region. We recognise this is an additional cost but it will pay dividends."

The rise is more than double the £7 annual levy applied to council tax bills in neighbouring Greater Manchester.

A spokesman for Mr Rotheram's office said this was because there are roughly one million fewer taxpayers in the Liverpool City Region than the 2.5 million in Greater Manchester.

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