No rise in council tax precept for three years if I'm re-elected, pledges West Midlands Mayor

Andy Street says he won't add to council tax bills for the next three years if he is re-elected as West Midlands Mayor.

West Midlands Mayor Andy Street
West Midlands Mayor Andy Street

The Conservative Mayor, who is aiming to win a second term in May, said he would not be introducing a council tax precept as part of the newly approved budget for the next 12 months.

He also insisted there would be "zero tax again for another three years" should he be re-elected.

The West Midlands Combined Authority's £900 million budget includes funding for infrastructure, regeneration and job training schemes to support the region's recovery post-Covid-19.

Mr Street said: "As households across the region face the hardships caused by coronavirus, I’m proud to say that this year we have once again balanced our books and delivered a budget that hasn’t cost local people a penny in extra tax from their Mayor.

“It is an approach I want to continue. After four years of no extra tax due to the Mayor’s office, I am planning to do the same again if I am fortunate enough to continue in this job – that’s zero tax again for another three years. I do not intend to introduce a precept.

Privilege

“I consider it a great privilege to be the Mayor of the region where I grew up, the place that made me what I am. I passionately believe that the office of Mayor should exist to the benefit of local people, not to their cost.”

He added: "In the last four years I have never used the power to tax the people of the West Midlands and, where we have borrowed, it has been to push forward projects – and never at a rate which means citizens end up with a precept.”

Metro Mayors have powers to levy a precept to fund local spending.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan is planning to increase council tax by nearly 10 per cent, while Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham has frozen his precept for 2021-22.

Mr Street says he has avoided the need to increase tax by winning investment from Government to pay for projects instead.

His 2021-22 budget includes £142m for skills and training; £363m towards delivering more Metro lines, reopening railway stations and greener buses; and £116m towards maintaining the region's ‘brownfield first’ policy.

Other candidates in the Mayoral election on May 6 are Jenny Wilkinson for the Lib Dems, Labour's Liam Byrne, Steve Cauldwell for the Green Party, and independent candidates Ashvir Sangha and Tim Weller.

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