Police Grant Report

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Prime Minister – in the House of Commons at 1:58 pm on 3rd February 2010.

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Photo of David Ruffley David Ruffley Shadow Minister (Home Affairs) 1:58 pm, 3rd February 2010

I think the hon. Lady is putting her question to the wrong person. I put the same question to the Minister when I asked him whether certain factors would be taken into account, as Sir Ronnie Flanagan had suggested, to prevent there being significant losers. The Minister should also tell us what stage he has reached in the review of the regime that he says he is conducting. The last statement that said anything was given to us two years ago, and it would be useful to have some specificity. I hope that when he has answered that question, the hon. Lady will be able to ask her own question again.

The fire and rescue authorities' grant floors have been lowered for 2010-11. Has the Minister examined the impact that those significant future changes have had on the finances of different authorities, and does he think we can draw any lessons from them? He is the Minister in charge, and he is doing the technical work. We should like to hear about it.

This country is in dire financial straits. Let us not forget that this Government, not any other Government, are responsible for the mess that we are in. We know why, and the British people know why. Given the additional pressures from the economic collapse over which the Government have presided and which the country is experiencing, police authorities-as they have told the Home Affairs Committee-already face projected cuts, and are now planning for cuts in police strength. Can the Minister please tell us why that is, and why it conflicts so obviously with the rosy picture of the grant settlement that he has painted here today? The two simply cannot be squared.

There is also concern about funding formula changes. I think it incumbent on the Minister, in a debate on police grant, to tell us exactly what stage, in technical terms, the review of police funding arrangements has reached in the Home Office. I think that not only the House but the country deserves an answer to those two questions.

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