Police funding

Meeting: 
MQT on 2017-09-14
Session date: 
September 14, 2017
Reference: 
2017/3703
Question By: 
Andrew Dismore
Organisation: 
Labour Group
Asked Of: 
Andrew Dismore
Category: 

Question

What has been the Government response to your request for additional funding for the Met.?

Answer

Answer for Police funding

Answer for Police funding

Answered By: 
Andrew Dismore

Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  Thank you for this question.  It allows me once again to discuss one of the more pressing issues in my mayoralty.  I have written recently to the Home Secretary, Amber Rudd [MP], to raise the issue once again, as I have done repeatedly since I became the Mayor.  I will continue to engage with the Government in the run-up to the autumn budget.  I want to thank the Assembly for its cross-party work on the most pressing matter that we face in relation to policing and I am sure any further representations you make ahead of the budget will be very helpful.

 

You will recall that the MPS has already delivered significant savings of more than £600 million over recent years.  Front counters have closed, buildings have been sold and almost 3,000 PCSOs and police staff posts have had to be lost.  A further £400 million of savings are required over the next four years because the flat cash budget settlement provided by the Government failed to take into account the increasing demand or inflationary pressures on policing.  Of the £400 million savings, they have identified £200 million, which has already meant some hard choices and difficult decisions.  As I have made clear previously, finding another £200 million will be very tough.

 

Unfortunately, over the last few years crime in our city has been increasing in volume and complexity.  We desperately need the Government to reverse the cuts and provide a real-term increase to MPS budgets.  We also need the Government to announce that it is abandoning its funding formula review.  We also need the Government to provide the full funding of the National and International Cities Grant to reflect the true additional costs that come with policing the nation’s capital.  The Government has been too slow and too quiet on the issue.  The MPS is running out time.  We have to make decisions on the budgets and workforce now.  If Ministers do not act and the current funding arrangements remain, officer numbers may fall below 30,000 for the first time since 2003.

 

Andrew Dismore AM:  Thank you for your answer.  That paints a pretty bleak picture unless we actually do get more from the Government.  I hope we can all welcome the reports that the Government is finally considering giving the police officers a much-deserved pay rise.  Whether it is enough for our hardworking London MPS officers, it is rather debatable, to say the least.  The $64,000 question though - and it is rather more than that - is where the money is coming from to fund this pay rise.  Has the Government indicated they will meet the cost of the pay rise or will it have to come from the existing over-stretched MPS budget?  If so, what will the impact be on the MPS’s finances?

 

Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  On that point, firstly, can I thank you for making the point how hard our police work day in, day out?  In fact, the inflation is, roughly speaking, 3%.  The announcement from the Government of 2% this year, 1% from next year, that does not appear to be funded.  We discovered this yesterday.  My understanding is that the 2% increase will mean an additional cost of about £18 million per year.  We have got to find that from a budget that has already got massive problems in it.  There is no point the Government announcing a pay increase if they are not going to fund it, in the context where we already have big problems with our budget in London.

 

Andrew Dismore AM:  What would you say to those Conservative London MPs, like the two we have in Barnet, and especially the MP for Chipping Barnet, who says she does not recognise the £400 million shortfall in Government funding, who consistently voted for the central Government budgets that have led to this underfunding crisis in the MPS and who now questions the need to close the police station in Chipping Barnet?

 

Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  What always astonishes me is the collective amnesia from Liberal Democrat politicians and Conservative politicians who are responsible for the cuts we have seen over the last seven years.  They laugh.  Conservative Assembly Members and Liberal Democrat Assembly Members laugh when I have to remind them we have faced, since 2010, £600 million worth of cuts.  MPs voted at every budget, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015.  Since 2015 we have got to find another £400 million, a £1 billion cut from the MPS budget voted through by the MPs you refer to.  At the same time, they say how wonderful - and they are, by the way - our police officers are.  At the same time, they vote through a 1% increase only in relation to pay in previous years.  We know inflation is 3%, so nobody should be surprised that police officers look aghast at the MPs who are now celebrating a cap being lifted and an increase in their pay of 2%, in the context of there being fewer police officers, fewer police staff, front counters are closing down, police officers being stretched and the prospect of police numbers in London going to levels we have not seen since 2003.

 

Andrew Dismore AM:  You mentioned the national police funding allocation formula, which could be reduced from 2018/19.  The estimates were that the MPS stood to lose somewhere between £184 million and £700 million from its yearly budget under the previous version.  Have there been any indications from the Government that they will drop this scheme and, if not, what would the outcome of that be?

 

Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  One of the consequences of the Government calling a General Election in June is not simply the cost - £140 million spent on this General Election, which was not needed - think about the police officers that could have paid for.  Also, they have missed the boat for the police funding formula to take place next year, which is good news for us, because we get another year’s worth of grace, which is one way of looking at it.  They have not ruled out the police funding formula being changed in subsequent years.  My call to the Government is to reverse the cuts, give us the funding that we need, give us the funding that experts say that we need, including the Government experts, but also say once and for all they will not be changing the police funding formula, which would punish London.