Labour claims risk to police despite Osborne cash pledge

George Osborne

George Osborne

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forces playing a key role in counter-terrorism will face funding cuts despite the Chancellor’s promise to protect policing, Labour has claimed.

The Home Office has confirmed George Osborne’s commitment to protect police force funding will not be universal, in a response to a question from Labour.

The promise made in the Chancellor’s Spending Review last month only refers to the 43 police forces funded by the Home Office.

British Transport Police, the Civil Nuclear Constabulary and the Ministry of Defence Police will not enjoy the same protection for their finances.

Public transport has previously been the target of terror attacks, most notably the July 7 2005 bombings in London, while the Civil Nuclear Constabulary is a 1,000 strong force of armed officers protecting nuclear installations across the country.

The Ministry of Defence Police protects sites including military barracks.

Shadow Treasury Minister Rebecca Long-Bailey said: “It’s fundamentally dishonest for George Osborne to claim he’s protecting police spending when his pledge does not include policing our public transport system, guarding our military or protecting nuclear installations and materials.

“This is deeply alarming given that the last two terrorist attacks in Britain were in a tube station and outside a military base, and nuclear facilities are an obvious target.

“He said he was protecting the police but he was really just trying to protect himself.”

The three forces not funded by the Home Office will have their budgets dictated by other Government departments.

Defence spending was protected but the Department for Transport was told it will have to make savings of 37 per cent over the next four years while the Department for Energy and Climate Change will cut its spending by 16 per cent.

In the run-up to the Spending Review police forces were expected to see significant budget cuts.

But Mr Osborne told MPs “now is not the time for further police cuts”.

He continued: “Now is the time to back our police and give them the tools do the job.”

He said there would be “real terms protection” for police funding adding: “The police protect us, and we’re going to protect the police.”

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