Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands, has today confirmed he will not levy an additional charge on council taxpayers in the West Midlands.
The elected Mayor has the power to raise a ‘Mayoral precept’ to council tax to invest in new infrastructure projects and fund the running of the Mayor’s Office.
However, the Mayor has been able to give this commitment until at least May 2020 because the Mayor and the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) have developed a number of alternatives:
The Combined Authority has been able to fund the Mayor’s Office using new funding from Government (the Mayoral Capacity Fund) and the increases in business rate receipts in the region due to economic growth.
The Mayor’s Renewal Plan committed that “any precept will be a last resort and will only be approved when alternatives…have been found not to be feasible”.
Local councils, the fire service and the police also have the power to raise additional council tax and are set to announce any changes in the coming weeks.
The Mayor said: "I am delighted that I have been able to give this commitment not to increase bills for council taxpayers in the West Midlands.
"The West Midlands has come together to bring in more money from Government and is looking to attract private sector investment. As we leave the EU, we will push to secure funding which is coming back from Brussels. We are also working hard to keep costs as low as possible."