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Warning about police funding

PUBLISHED: 13:09 07 September 2002 | UPDATED: 12:36 03 March 2010

POLICING in Suffolk could come under strain unless there is a significant rise in council tax bills, it was said today.

Christine Laverock, chairman of the Suffolk Police Authority, said changes to the way grants are handed out to police forces could cost Suffolk Constabulary millions of pounds which would have to be met by a hike in council taxpayers' bills.

POLICING in Suffolk could come under strain unless there is a

significant rise in council tax bills, it was claimed today.

Christine Laverock, chairman of the Suffolk Police Authority, said changes to the way grants are handed out to police forces could cost Suffolk Constabulary millions of pounds – which would have to be met by a hike in council taxpayers' bills.

Options are being discussed for changes to the Standard Spending Assessment (SSA) formula, which will determine next year's grants to police forces and other local authorities.

Mrs Laverock, in a letter to West Suffolk Conservative MP Richard Spring, said the Suffolk force would lose out.

She said:"Whenever the formula changes there are authorities that gain and those that lose and that is the case with the options for the police service. In general terms, the proposals transfer significant resources from the rural areas to the metropolitan areas."

She said the basic formula would see Suffolk losing about £1.2million from next year – the equivalent of £6 on council tax at Band D – and added that another £1.1m would be lost if the options being considered were adopted.

That is on top of an expected "significant" shortfall as a result of chancellor Gordon Brown's

spending plans for the next three years.

Mr Spring said: "This is part of a pattern where Suffolk is getting the short straw – and we are seeing it at every single level.

"Council tax has risen faster here than in other parts of the country and there is continuing pressure on support services. It shows the government's complete lack of understanding about rural counties like Suffolk."

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