Mayor calls on Assembly to join campaign against police funding cuts
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, will today call on the London Assembly to join his campaign against further cuts to police funding in London.
He will underline his warning that Londoners’ safety will be put at risk if the Government continues to underfund the Met or cuts police funding in the capital further as a result of changes to the national police funding formula being considered by ministers.
Sadiq Khan will voice his serious concerns over the future of police funding in London as he takes questions from the London Assembly on his first draft budget. He has also written to all London MPs and Borough Leaders ahead of a key Home Office decision in which the Met stands to lose millions of pounds more from its annual budget.
The Mayor’s draft 2017-18 budget aims to deliver real results across the entire Greater London Authority Group, investing £3.2bn in new affordable housing, doubling spend on tackling London’s poor air quality and freezing all Transport for London fares for four years.
In response to systematic Government cuts to policing since 2010, the Mayor has made the very difficult decision to increase council tax in order to provide an additional £24.2m in his budget to maintain the strategic target of 32,000 police officers.
Today, the Mayor will warn that even with this extra funding, the Met faces an extremely challenging financial situation.
This year, the Government is set to change the way the policing budget is divided between forces. When changes to the funding formula were last considered in Autumn 2015, the Met stood to lose between £184m and £700m from its yearly budget.
Since 2010, £600m of savings have already led to the loss of 2,800 police staff, including hundreds of Police Community Support Officers, and the closure of dozens of police stations. A further £400m savings are to be found over the next few years and the Mayor has asked the Met to go even further in restructuring and reducing back office costs to make efficiency savings.
Sadiq Khan will today caution that any further cuts would make it increasingly difficult to keep Londoners safe from growing security threats, and a fall in police numbers will be inevitable.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, is expected to say: “I am determined to deliver real results for Londoners, and this means maintaining the strategic target of 32,000 police officers in order to keep the capital safe. But in the face of continued pressures on the police budget this is becoming increasingly difficult.
“This year, I have done everything I can to protect police officer numbers – including making the very difficult decision to raise council tax. But if the Government subjects London’s police service to any further cuts, it will become harder than ever to maintain the number of police on our streets.
“Today, I am calling on the London Assembly, and London MPs and Borough Leaders, to join my campaign with a clear message to the Government: Londoners’ safety will be put at risk if police funding is cut any further, and in the wake of recent horrific attacks in Berlin and Istanbul, ministers must listen to our concerns.”
Sadiq Khan will also confirm his plans to increase the contingency held for of the Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation from £1m in to £2m for 2017-18, so that the corporation can move forward with delivering the tens of thousands of homes and jobs that can be created at this West London site.
The Mayor’s draft budget for 2017-18 also includes:
· A record-breaking investment of £3.15 billion to support the building of 90,000 new genuinely affordable homes in the capital over the next five years;
· A freeze on all TfL fares for four years, while protecting concessions and extending the new Hopper bus fare;
· Tackling London’s filthy air that is resulting in over 9000 deaths every year by doubling the amount spent on improving air quality from £425m committed by the previous Mayor to £875m through to 2021/22;
· Record investment in modernising our transport infrastructure including the biggest Tube capacity growth London has ever seen, extending the London Overground and Northern lines, starting planning for the Bakerloo Line extension and progressing new east London river crossings;
· Continuing to work with London’s businesses, investors and innovators to ensure London’s key sectors are protected and Londoners’ economic opportunities maximised during the forthcoming negotiations to leave the European Union.
· Launching a Skills for Londoners taskforce, to ensure skills training meets the needs of London’s economy.
· A proposed additional commitment of £4m on culture as a top priority for London, to fund new projects including London Borough of Culture, Creative Enterprise Zones and a vision for 24-hour London.
· A shift towards more active and healthier travel for Londoners, by making walking and cycling easier, safer and more attractive;
· A target to dispatch a fire engine within 10 minutes to any incident anywhere in London 90 per cent of the time. This is an improvement on the current standard;
· A commitment to speed up the delivery of housing on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park;
The Budget will be considered once more by the full London Assembly on 20 February and the final budget and council tax precept will be approved by the Mayor after this second meeting.
Notes to editors
A consultation document that sets out the Mayor’s proposals was made available on the Greater London Authority website at: www.london.gov.uk/budget on 21 December. Members of the public had until 12th January to respond.
· One of the main causes of underfunding is the Government’s refusal to fully fund activity undertaken because of London’s position as a major global capital and the seat of Government, such as diplomatic protection, and policing major events such as protests, concerts and football matches. This costs some £346m a year, but London currently receives funding from government for barely half of this.
· The Met also has less money because the previous Mayor, Boris Johnson, cut the police council tax precept last year - the same year as the Mayoral election – against the advice of his own Government.
· In response, the budget proposes to close this gap, partially through proposals announced last month to increase the policing share of council tax bills by an average of 8p a week from April 2017 in order to help maintain police officer numbers across London.
· The previous Mayor maintained the strategic target of 32,000 officers throughout his eight years. Actual police numbers varied widely over this period, dropping as low as 30,235 in 2013.
· This variation, and the previous Mayor’s 2016/17 budget, means that a £38m saving has been found because officer numbers fell slightly below target in 2016/17. This will help bridge the budget gap in 2017/18 as there will be vacancies in early 2017/18. The Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime has made clear that this in itself will not balance the budget from 2018/19 onwards and further savings and/or additional resources will need to be identified.
Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation
· The Mayor is proposing a budget for OPDC of £6.9m for 2017-18. He is also proposing to increase OPDC’s contingency fund by £1m to £2m.
· In 2016-17, the Assembly approved OPDC receiving a budget of £5.4m from the previous Mayor. This is £1.5m less than the Mayor’s proposal for 2017-18. The current Mayor is increasing OPDC’s budget, including the contingency, so that the corporation can move forward with delivering the tens of thousands of homes and jobs that can be created at this site.
· The previous Mayor also chose to allocate an additional one-off payment of £6m to the organisation in 2016-17. This additional payment was to support the OPDC’s ongoing work to take ownership from Government of public land surrounding the proposed new station at Old Oak.
· The forecasted spend for OPDC in 2016-17 is £8.9m.
· The Mayor’s GLA Group Budget proposals mean that there is provision equal to this year’s spend in the Old Oak and Park Royal area for 2017-18.
· The Mayor of London’s 2017-18 draft Council Tax requirement is £801.3m – this being the total sum forecast to be collected from Londoners to fund GLA services. Under the proposal the total GLA precept will be increased from £276.00 to £280.02 a year (Band D household) for residents of the 32 boroughs – an overall increase £4.02 or 1.5 per cent. All of this increase will be provided to the Metropolitan Police. The Band D precept for taxpayers within the Corporation of London area – which has its own police force – is provisionally set at £73.89.
· The Mayor’s proposed council tax precept comprises £589.5m to support the Metropolitan Police service, £138.2m for the London Fire Brigade and £73.6m for other services such as transport and the GLA itself.
· The Mayor’s draft budget consists of allocations for - the Mayor’s Office for Policing And Crime (Metropolitan Police), Transport for London, the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority (London Fire Brigade), the London Legacy Development Company (Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park), the Old Oak Common and Park Royal Development Corporation, the core Greater London Authority and the London Assembly.
· The proposed total budget for the GLA Group for 2017-18 is £15.8 billion. This comprises a revenue budget of £11.7 billion and a draft capital spending plan of £4.1 billion.
· The consultation document, which outlines the Mayor’s proposals, was circulated to all 32 London Borough Councils, the Corporation of London, key business representative bodies and other key stakeholders representing London’s wide range of interests on 21 December and made available on the Mayor’s budget homepage – www.london.gov.uk/budget . The consultation closes on Thursday 12 January and responses should be emailed to [email protected]