Leading on the Police Funding Report today in the House. This is the funding for Police Authorities for their forces. It doesn’t include special payments for things like counter-terrorism or the security forces or other special payments – but is the main chunk of money that gives us police on our streets – or not!
The Association of Police Authorities (APA) and the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) are extremely concerned that the funding is inadequate – leaving a gap of £250 million which will either result in cuts or in increased council tax. Since 2001 the portion of police funding paid by us through our Council Tax precept has gone from 12% to 21%. So when you hear Labour Government boasting about the increase of police on our streets and the Safer Neighbourhood Scheme – which we all want – remember it is us who have paid to have them there through local taxes.
Latter, after I had made my speech, the Minister Paul Goggins, in his wind up of the debate, said that he disagreed with the Honourable Lady for Hornsey & Wood Green (me!). And that this funding allocation would benefit the poor and everyone would have local policing. However, what I had actually said, was that any rise in Council Tax would hit the poorest and most financially vulnerable because it is an unfair tax and older people have no means to increase their income to meet increases in Council Tax – and with the scandal of womens’ pensions……….etc. So naughty Mr Goggins.
Naughty Mr Goggins too – I see in the local paper that he visited my constituency without letting me know (which is the convention) to visit the TreeHouse School for autistic children. This is a fantastic outfit which came recently to my constituency and does the most incredible work – so I forgive him!
Co-terminus with the debate – I was meant to be hosting an event on the terrace for the Met Police Authority (ironically), but they just had to manage without me. I did get in there for about 10 minutes – just as Sir Ian Blair was finishing his speech – so I don’t know what he said. I just thanked everyone for coming and suggested they continued to enjoy themselves – and then rushed back to the chamber.