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West Mids mayor's council tax rise bid to be scrapped.

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

Local council leaders and the mayor will consider a proposal on Friday to "defer" the precept, so that it's 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.

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 PS6million.

The charge would have been added to Council Tax bills across the region served by the mayor, which includes Coventry, Birmingham, 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 at a meeting on Friday February 9 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 Authorities."

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

And the mayor will cut his office costs by PS65,000.

Mr Street's staff point out that no firm decision will be made about whether to delay the precept until Friday's Board meeting. The Mayor is not issuing any statement before that.

On top of that, West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson has launched his own consultation about increasing the police precept, which is added to Council Tax bills, by PS12.

There will also be a small increase, possibly around PS1 a year, from the fire authority.

It means that bills for a band D home are likely to increase by at least PS85 a year in total even without the mayor's precept.

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Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Feb 8, 2018
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