Statement on the Police Grant Settlement 2023/24

The South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner has criticised the government’s announcement on the police grant settlement for 2023/24, describing it as “falling short” and forcing a rise in council tax.

The settlement is the amount of funding each police force receives from the government for providing policing, community safety and victim’s services. This amounts to around three quarters (74%) of the force budget. The other quarter (26%) has to be raised through the council tax precept.

In previous year’s the government has capped the amount that police and crime commissioners can raise the precept. This has increased slightly over previous years and was last year increased to a maximum of £10 per year (based on a Band D property). In the announcement this year the government has raised the cap to £15.

Dr Alan Billings, South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner said: “The funding announcement falls short of what is needed to maintain an effective and efficient police force given the rising costs of everything – from pay to energy.

“The government have also assumed in all their calculations that PCCs will raise council tax precepts for policing by a maximum of £15 per annum for a Band D property. They are, in effect, setting the council tax for South Yorkshire and giving no real local discretion. If we were to set a lower figure, that would have serious implications for policing as the service would have to be cut back drastically.

“I am acutely aware of the struggles people are already facing because of the cost-of-living crisis – partly created by the disastrous mini-budget of the Liz Truss premiership – which the government appears unable to control.

“I assume the government understands the impact this crisis is having on households as well. This is why I am astonished that they will add to people’s burdens by shifting so much of the cost of funding policing next year from central government to the local tax-payer.

“They are presenting us in poorer parts of the country with a stark choice: pay more for policing or cut the service.

“I am currently consulting the public on whether they are prepared to pay a little more for policing next year. A £15 increase per year on Band D would equate to three pence per week, though most household in South Yorkshire would pay less because most properties are in Bands A and B.

“I am also asking the public what areas of policing they are prepared to see cut if they are not willing to pay a little more.

“If I do levy the increase in precept that the government is assuming, it will still not be enough to enable us to balance the books over the coming years. I shall, therefore, be asking the force to make considerable savings, some of which will not be easy, striving all the time to maintain police staff numbers. (Police officer numbers have to be maintained so that the government can claim it has recruited an extra 20,000 across the country.)

“This is without question a poor settlement giving us little room other than to raise the precept and find more savings. How does this enable us to beat crime?”

The survey launched by the PCC is available here.