Lancashire police boss: Government "passing the buck" on funding despite Â£6.8m windfall
Despite recent House of Commons proposals to increase funding to Lancashire Police by Â£6.8m for 2019/20, the county's Police and Crime Commissioner has claimed the government has "passed the burden" of policing costs onto the tax-payer.
The provisional police funding announcement has provoked ire from Commissioner Clive Grunshaw, who insists that the windfall does not cover increases to employer pension contributions for policing announced in September and that the real-world consequences of such costs will lead to a forecast deficit of around £7.1m per year - the equivalent to over 150 police officers.
Along with Policing Minister Nick Hurd announcing next year's Central Grant funding increase by £6.8m for Lancashire, the minister also recognised the service met every requirement he set in the 2018/19 settlement, including £120m of savings nationally, while the government also announced greater flexibility for increasing the Council Tax precept, which contributes to police funding, up to £24-a-year on a Band D equivalent property.
"Through this announcement the Government has once again failed to provide additional money towards front line policing, with any additional money from central Government covering the costs of the unfunded increase in police pensions, which undermined all previous planned budget assumptions," said Clive Grunshaw, Lancashire's Police and Crime Commissioner.
"Once again the Government has passed the buck onto council tax payers and failed to address the concerns raised up and down the country that after eight years of budget cuts, removing £84m – equivalent to over 25% of the budget in 2010/11 - from policing in Lancashire with a further £18m still to find over the next few years," he added.
"The ability to invest in our policing teams and meet the pressures on the service is completely reliant on raising Council Tax by the highest amount we can. The Government know this and once again are failing to be honest with the public, failing to address the actual cause which is years of austerity in policing.
"This announcement, whilst on the face of it a step in the right direction, doesn't come close to addressing the issues faced by Lancashire police after cutting too far and too fast for the last seven years."