Police

Part of Science, Technology and Engineering (Careers Information in Schools) – in the House of Commons at 1:26 pm on 13th February 2013.

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Photo of Jeremy Browne Jeremy Browne The Minister of State, Home Department 1:26 pm, 13th February 2013

I will in a bit, but the hon. Gentleman has had a go already.

I was talking about the budgetary context and the hon. Gentleman’s west midlands colleague, the glibly shameless right hon. Member for Birmingham, Hodge Hill, who said that there was “no money left.” I note that he did not say, “There’s just a little bit of money left” or “There’s a little bit of money; I wish there were a bit more but there isn’t.” There was, in his words, “no money left.” That was the reality of our inheritance, and our coalition Government, working in the national interest, is turning the oil tanker around. The deficit has been cut by a quarter over two years, and about 1 million private sector jobs have been created.

However, tidying up Labour’s mess is a difficult and painstaking process that cannot be achieved overnight. In order to deal with the deficit, tough decisions have to be made. I know that Labour Members, who have never made a tough decision in their lives, find that traumatic, but it has to be done. There is therefore less money for the Home Office and less money for the police. As a service that was spending, in total, in excess of £14 billion per year, the police can and must take their fair share of the reductions in funding. As set out in the policing Minister’s written ministerial statement, central Government funding to the police will be £8.7 billion in 2013-14, which is only 1.9% less than in 2012-13. It is important to remember that the police do not receive all their funding from central Government. In fact, the police receive about a quarter of their funding from the police precept component of council tax, which is of course determined locally.

We have sought to protect the police as far as possible. The autumn statement in December included further cuts of 1% to most departmental budgets. However, the Home Secretary decided to protect the police from these additional reductions in 2013-14. She also decided not to pass on reductions relating to the November 2011 announcement on pay restraint in 2013-14, which could have resulted in a further reduction of £66 million in police funding in 2013-14. All this means that in 2013-14 the police will receive the same amount of funding as was agreed in the October 2010 spending review.

Naturally, police and crime commissioners are keen to know what their funding allocations will be for 2014-15, and particularly whether the departmental reductions announced in the autumn statement and the impact of pay restraint will be passed on to the police in that year. We will announce our decision with regard to 2014-15 as soon as we are in a position to do so. The reduction in the police budget has coincided with a small reduction in the number of officers, but ultimately decisions on the size and composition of the work force are for individual chief officers and police and crime commissioners.