PCC Martin Surl denies he has broken manifesto pledge on council tax
POLICING boss Martin Surl has defended proposals to ask taxpayers for an extra £3.99 a year.
The Police and Crime Commissioner said the increase is "less than a box of chocolates" but will equate to the cost of 30 officers being on the beat.
A public consultation is running on his draft budget for Gloucestershire, which totals £105million.
The police precept is part of the council tax bill and currently stands at £199.69 for a Band D household.
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Mr Surl has proposed a rise in council tax of one to three per cent to raise an extra £450,000, resulting in a total of £1.35million for policing in Gloucestershire.
Forest of Dean MP Mark Harper has questioned this, asking if Mr Surl is a "referendum dodger".
The Conservative said: "I am disappointed that just two months after his election, Martin Surl is already thinking about breaking his manifesto pledge to not raise local taxes.
"His consultation doesn't include the freeze option which he promised, just a range of rises."
He said Mr Surl should have the "courage" to hold a referendum and ask "hard-pressed families" what they think.
Mr Surl said: "To hold a referendum would be madness. It could cost £500,000 and people wouldn't thank me."
He campaigned as an independent and in his manifesto said raising council tax would be a "last resort" to cover further Government cuts.
He said his proposed increase was a "good deal" as the police authority had previously suggested a 3.9 per cent increase.
He said: "I certainly haven't broken a manifesto pledge. I said I would not increase tax to cover any further Government cuts. This increase is to cover the existing cuts."
The Gloucestershire Police and Crime Panel will be asked to confirm the budget at its meeting on February 6.