Earlier this year, the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority (CPCA) board voted to introduce a new tax across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.

The mayor’s tax will begin in April and will mean, for example, anyone in a Band D property will be paying an extra £12 per year.

This new tax has been justified on the basis that more money is needed to maintain our region’s bus services.

I wholeheartedly oppose it.

This is the worst possible moment for CPCA to be imposing a new tax on ordinary people, especially as Cambridgeshire County Council has just announced plans to increase its part of council tax by almost five per cent. 

The mayor’s tax should not be needed. I appreciate that more money will need to be spent on buses next year following the decision by Stagecoach East to axe almost two dozen routes.

However, there are a number of alternative ways this money could be found: increasing the Transport Levy paid by Cambridgeshire County Council and Peterborough City Council, drawing on the Authority’s reserves and efficiency savings from non-priority projects.

The UK Government has also recently announced an £80 million extension to the Bus Recovery Grant (this is the pot of money the Combined used back in October to maintain the region’s bus services).

When so many options are available to the Combined Authority it is not right to pass the cost to council tax payers' who are already under pressure. This new tax also undermines the efforts of local authorities, like East Cambridgeshire District Council, who have worked hard to freeze council tax.

It is important to highlight that the mayor’s tax is being introduced off the back of a public consultation that was very vague about the possibility of a new tax. 

Some might argue that the new tax is only £12 a year for people in a Band D property, or £1 extra a month. However, the basis on which the mayor’s tax has been introduced is just as important as the amount.

This tax is not needed, it is not wanted, and I urge the mayor and Combined Authority to reverse their decision.