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Police Funding Settlement

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 1:10 pm on 13th December 2018.

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Photo of Nick Hurd Nick Hurd The Minister of State, Home Department 1:10 pm, 13th December 2018

I have been a shadow Minister and I know that that sometimes requires one to push the boundaries of reasonableness, but I am afraid the hon. Lady has lost all proportion. She talks about the Government creating demand on the police system. I do not know what she means by that. Perhaps she means the pressure we put on the police to improve their recording of crime. Perhaps she means the pressure the current Prime Minister put on the police to improve their support for the most vulnerable people in our communities, which means that more victims of domestic violence and rape are coming forward to the police. If that is what she means, I can see her point.

The hon. Lady tries to claim that the Government are cutting funding to the police in real terms, but I stated very clearly that in this settlement we have moved from flat-cash Home Office grant to police forces to the first real increase in the grant since 2010. That is the reality.

The hon. Lady talks about pension costs, which have been a very real issue. The Treasury has done exactly what it said it would do. I am very clear that through a combination of the special pension grant, the increase in the Home Office grant, the room for efficiencies and the levels of reserves, every single police and crime commissioner should be able to go to their public and talk about local taxes for their local police service.

Finally, for the Labour party to present itself as the champion of the council tax payer, when it doubled council tax when it was in power, is hypocrisy of the worst order. The hon. Lady talks about the council tax payer being weighed down by this, but in reality the average amount of funding that comes from the precept has moved from 32% to 34% across the police system. The reality is that most of the funding for our police system comes from the taxpayer through central funding.

My challenge to the shadow Minister is this. She and her boss led their colleagues through the No Lobby this time last year, so the Labour party effectively voted against a police settlement that put an additional £460 million into our police. This settlement has the potential to put an additional £970 million into our police system so that we as taxpayers are investing over £2 billion more than we were in 2015-16. This might, therefore, be the moment to put tribal politics and games aside and recognise the fundamental truth that Members on both sides of the House recognise the pressure on the police and want to see increased resources for policing. That is exactly what this settlement delivers.