Annual reporting: Adequacy of resources

Part of Criminal Finances Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 11:00 am on 22nd November 2016.

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Photo of Rupa Huq Rupa Huq Shadow Minister (Home Office) (Crime and Prevention) 11:00 am, 22nd November 2016

I was interested to hear a groundbreaking announcement in this Committee. I completely get the Minister’s point that we will never feel satiated, and that there will always be inadequacy, but my hon. Friend the Member for Bootle made a really powerful case. He mentioned SARs and the ELMER IT regime. Originally, 20,000 SARs were anticipated, but there are now 381,882—my hon. Friend said there were “up to” 381,000 of them, but there are even more, and the figure is rising.

I want to mention the NCA’s ability to cope with the greater workload. It takes an increasing length of time to get investigations into the courts. We have heard that it could take more than 200 days, with the new SARs regime. The NCA was created as a successor to several different organisations. The budget of those it replaced was £812 million, but the NCA’s new annual budget was £474 million. Those figures put the situation into context. The Government have cut that budget even further since the NCA’s creation; it received £411 million in 2015-16. I accept that there was a one-off £200 million cash injection last year, but the agency needs steady long-term funding to carry out its functions effectively. It is no good just sprinkling blockbuster sums now and then; it needs a consistent funding model.

My hon. Friend the Member for Bootle made some powerful points. For effective crime fighting, we should not have agencies that are overworked and under-resourced. The announcement that 100% of assets will go to the Home Office conflicts with an amendment that we have tabled.