May I begin by associating myself with the remarks of Mr Hanson about Paul McKeever? I had the pleasure—and it was a pleasure—of working with him when I was the shadow policing Minister, and he was a very effective representative for the federated ranks, and one of nature’s gentlemen. He represented many brave police officers—men and women—and we should never forget that in the context of funding settlements and reforms to pay and conditions. We honour and respect what police officers do each day on our behalf.
It is worth saying something about the headline figures for the police settlement that we are considering today. The Home Affairs Committee calculated that there was a real-terms increase of 20% in police funding in the decade up to 2008. That was something that the Conservative Opposition supported and voted for, and it had the result of making the British police force one of the best resourced in the western world. So when we look at reductions in spending—which we are doing in this settlement, as no one doubts—we have to see it in that context. It is coming off a very high base.
The figures for 2013-14 represent, in total central Government funding—that is specific Home Office grants, the police core settlement grant, the Department for Communities and Local Government revenue support grant and other bits of money—£7.8 billion, which is only a 1.9% reduction. These are not staggering figures, and I repeat that the reduction is against a backdrop of very high increases, which we supported, in the decade to 2008.