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Last Updated:  Thursday, 6 March, 2003, 10:35 GMT
Tax hike funds extra police
Officers on the beat
Fifty new officers are being recruited
People living in north west Wales will have to dig deeper into their pockets this year to pay for extra police officers on the streets.

As local authorities announce council tax increases of up to 10%, the contribution that goes towards the police budget has risen by 31.5%.

North Wales Police will use the extra money to recruit 50 so-called Community Beat Managers at a cost of 125 per household.

They say the rise is a response to public demand for more bobbies on the beat.

Chief Constable of North Wales, Richard Brunstrom said: "These officers will be trained and on the streets during 2003.

"With the additional officers, I am confident that we can drive down the fear of crime significantly during the next year or so."

Average band D totals
Conwy 729.50
Anglesey 798.32
Gwynedd 817.08

Residents on Anglesey will see the biggest increase in council tax at 9.4%.

Conwy council has opted for a rise of 7.9% while Gwynedd householders will see the lowest increase in the north west - 6.8%.

The rise is blamed on demands on local authorities to increase their expenditure on public services.

Leader of Anglesey Council, Cllr Goronwy O Parry said this was the first time they had opted for an increase suggested by the Welsh Assembly Government's Standard Spending Assessment.

"Of course, the council would have preferred to reduce council tax but that would have meant service cuts.

"The matter that faced us as a council was that there was pressure to bring our council tax levels in line with similar levels in Wales and England."

Education

Although Gwynedd residents will see the smallest rise in the region, a council tax level of 689.79 for an average Band D property (excluding police and community council contributions) is higher than in the other two counties.

The council blames the hike on increases in national insurance, pension contributions, education and waste disposal spending.

Council leader Cllr Richard Parry Hughes said the authority was using an increase in the funding it receives from the assembly to fund the extra costs.

"Eight pound out of every 10 of the council's budget of 164m comes as a direct grant from the assembly.

"Gwynedd has decided to use some of the increase in this year's grant to minimise the increase in council tax," said Mr Parry Hughes.

There was no-one available from Conwy Council to comment.




SEE ALSO:
Prescott's council tax warning
01 Mar 03 |  Politics
Q&A: Council tax rise
28 Feb 03 |  UK


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