Police Grant

Part of Points of Order – in the House of Commons at 4:16 pm on 4th February 2008.

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Photo of Tony McNulty Tony McNulty Minister of State (Security, Counter-terrorism, Crime and Policing), Home Office 4:16 pm, 4th February 2008

May I finish what I was saying before the point of order? The increase of £23.6 million— 25 per cent., or 0.4 per cent. in real terms—between 2001 and 2008-09 shows clearly that Surrey has benefited collectively during the past 10 years. I accept that the process may have slowed down, but it does not constitute a significant cut in real terms. However, that takes us away from the point, which I agree with, that the contribution from the local base is significantly higher than for any other force in the country. The proportion in the last round, that for 2007-08, was 46.1 per cent. compared with the Northumbria contribution of 11 per cent.—rather than 18 per cent. which I think I said earlier, in which case I did inadvertently mislead the House in that regard. Notwithstanding what the points of Mr. Blunt might be—I have not heard them yet, but I suspect that they will be perfectly valid—I was simply trying to get across my point about there being such disparities in terms of what should be, at core, a universal service. There should be some local variation—some scope for local flexibility—but a range of between 11 and 46 per cent. cannot in any logical sense be right.

Such disparities are rooted in a host of reasons such as history, the options various forces made when there was no capping regime, and what the original base budgets were. It will take time to get to a stage where that can be resolved, because it will invariably require either giving more money to one force and taking it off another or allowing some to go in one direction locally and others not. However, I repeat that the time for debate is upon us—if not a year late.