David Cameron slams plans for Beds PCC tax hike referendum

Plans to hike the Beds Police tax precept by 15.8% are ill thought out, according to David Cameron.

While visiting the Vauxhall plant on Kimpton Road, Luton, this morning, the Prime Minister praised the force’s work in reducing crime but said that taxpayers should not have to bear the brunt of budget cutbacks.

During an interview with the Herald & Post he said: “What we have done is made available the funding that is necessary and you can see that by the fact that crime here in this force has fallen over the last four years.

“The police have done a good job, the percentage of officers on the front line has gone up, they have got crime down and I don’t think the police and crime commissioner is right to want to increase the amount of council tax in this way.

“Under our rules he’ll have to have a referendum and the local people will decide but I do not want to see taxes go up in the way that he is proposing.

“I think the police can find further efficiencies and continue to do the excellent work they do.”

He added: “The chief constable will make her own case but crime is falling.

“Full credit to the police, they managed to do more with less and I think there are further efficiencies they can find; co-ordinating with other forces to make sure they share some of the costs.

“They should exhaust all those processes before putting taxpayers’ bills up.”

The PM’s stop off in Luton, which was one of three car plant visits across the country today, was timed alongside the release of labour market statistics which paint a positive picture for the UK automotive industry.

Last June Vauxhall was able to take on 250 new staff members in Luton as production of the Vivaro van was stepped up.

The new shift also allowed the firm to safeguard 1,100 existing employees at the plant on Kimpton Road.

During his visit Mr Cameron was shown around the assembly line by staff members and also met a number of apprentices.

He said: “What I want to see is an industrial renaissance in Britain with plants like this growing and expanding.

“It’s good to come back here, I came here in 2011 when we announced the regional growth fund and that money has helped this business to expand and take on more people.

“It’s good to meet some of the new staff and apprentices who are learning a new trade.”