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PS10 a year to pay for elected mayor blocked.

WEST Midlands Mayor Andy Street's plan to add a PS10-a-year precept to council tax bills is set to be scrapped for at least a year.

Midland council leaders and the mayor will consider a proposal on Friday to "defer" the precept, so it is not included in this year's council tax bills.

It follows objections from Labour council leaders, who said West Midlands council tax bills are already set to rise significantly.

But they insist they are still determined to work constructively with Mr Street, the region's Conservative mayor who was elected last year.

The Birmingham Post revealed in January that Mr Street wanted to impose a PS12 precept on council tax bills going out later this year. This was later reduced to PS10.80 for a band D home, raising around PS6 million.

The charge would have been added to council tax bills across the region served by the mayor, which includes Birmingham, Coventry, Wolverhampton, Sandwell, Dudley, Solihull and Walsall. But the proposal was blocked by the Board of the West Midlands Combined Authority, which is chaired by Mr Street and includes the leaders of the seven local councils.

A paper to be considered by the Board reveals that Mr Street and the council leaders have agreed "a proposed deferral of the 2018/19 precept to 2019/20 subject to further work in 2018/19 and final approval at the February 2019 West Midlands Combined Authority Board".

It means the precept planned for the 2018-19 financial year, which begins in April, will now be delayed until 12 months later.

The paper adds: "This approach is supported by the mayor and the all constituent authori-ties."

It also says that some of the money the precept would have raised for public transport schemes will be provided by local councils, which will give the mayor's office an extra PS572,000 between them. The mayor will also cut his office costs by PS65,000.

Birmingham City Council said it continues to work closely and have a good relationship with the mayor, and along with other local authorities it was concerned about the impact on residents of increases in council tax. Meanwhile, West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson has launched a consultation about increasing the police precept on council tax bills by PS12. There will also be a small increase, possibly around PS1 a year, from the fire authority.

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Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Feb 8, 2018
Words:403
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