I WAS interested, if not a little frustrated, to read the comments made by Roger Hirst, the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner (PFCC) for Essex, on YourHarlow 6/1/20. This seems a very similar story.
First of all, despite standing against Hirst in 2016, I do believe he is committed to delivering the best police service to our County. However, once again he is being forced by his own Conservative government to go cap in hand to the people of Essex and ask them if they are willing to have a further increase in their Council Tax. Only last year, the percentage of Council Tax going towards police funding increased. Potentially he is now being forced to ask for even more!
Once again I stress that funding for policing should come from central government in a progressive taxation system where those who can afford to pay more do. Personally I think that the fact there are only three bands of income tax is ridiculous and welcomed Labour’s plans to introduce another band between 80 and 150 thousand pounds a year for this very reason.
The PFCC asks if people would be willing to pay more Council Tax for more policing and of course the answer for many people who want to see police back in their communities will be “yes”. However, the reality is that raising funding in this way is not progressive and potentially causes further difficulties for families in Harlow who are already struggling to pay the bills as a consequence of the Tory government’s disastrous roll out of Universal Credit.
I would urge Commissioner Hirst to continue to lobby central government for more funding, not only to address the regional imbalance from which Essex suffers, but to secure a greater budget to recruit more officers and keep our communities safe.
Obviously he’ll have to wait until the Prime Minister gets back from his holidays!
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