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I thank the Minister for her response, and I thank my hon. Friend the shadow Minister and hon. Friends from across Merseyside for their contributions to what has been a comprehensive debate on this important matter.
This morning, I was on BBC Radio Merseyside, ahead of this debate. The presenter said, “There have been loads of these debates and all the issues get aired, but nothing ever changes.” One of the frustrations of being in Opposition is that, sadly, that is often how it feels.
I appeal to the Minister and to the Policing Minister who cannot be with us today: I think that my hon. Friends and I have made the case that there needs to be an increase in spending on the police nationally and that the distributional impact of the system fails areas such as Merseyside. The very small amounts of money that the Minister just referred to for co-ordinators and particular programmes are a drop in the ocean compared with the scale of the reduction that we have seen.
We need a fair funding formula in the future that recognises that in areas with a low council tax base, it is simply unjust and wrong to shift the burden on to hard-pressed local taxpayers in the way the Government have done. Nationally, we need policing to be given a higher priority in the spending review. I think that a powerful message from today’s debate is that in a context of rising crime, especially given what we have heard regarding the horrors of the impact of gun and knife crime on our communities, Merseyside needs a fair funding formula, but we also need a spending review that gives due priority to fighting crime and policing our communities.
Question put and agreed to.
That this House
has considered the funding of Merseyside Police.