PCC says self-employed must get financial help following pleas over council tax

The Police and Crime Commissioner for Surrey David Munro is urging the government to provide financial help for self-employed workers after a number wrote to him asking for the policing element of this year’s council tax to be waived.

The PCC has received correspondence from self-employed Surrey residents fearing the effect of the Coronavirus outbreak on their livelihoods would mean they wouldn’t be able to meet their council tax bills.

The Chancellor is set to make an announcement on Thursday and the PCC has written to him saying he hopes a financial package similar to what has been offered to employed workers will be introduced.

The level of council tax Surrey residents pay for policing in the county, known as the precept, is set by the Commissioner each year.

For 2020/21, the PCC proposed a 3.84% precept increase which was approved by the county’s Police and Crime Panel meaning an average Band D household will pay annual bill of £270.57 towards policing in Surrey.

PCC David Munro said: “I have already had a number of self-employed Surrey residents writing to me asking that I waive or reduce the policing element of the council tax due to the financial hardship that the Coronavirus pandemic is causing.

“I have great sympathy for them – this is a period of great uncertainty for everyone and I do not underestimate the huge impact this is having on people’s livelihoods.

“Unfortunately I legally cannot reduce the Surrey Police precept for 2020/21, even if I wanted to, as it has already been set and agreed. Furthermore the Force, being the most heavily reliant on Council Tax to fund its services in the country, needs the money to maintain its services at this critical time.

“The government should be applauded for the speed in which they have moved to help those in employment by pledging to pay 80% of their wages. But I would urge the Chancellor to also seriously consider the plight of those people who are self-employed whose businesses and livelihoods are in great peril because of this crisis.

“Any assistance that can be provided to help them through this difficult time would be welcomed by many in Surrey.”

The full letter can be found HERE

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