Prime Minister must back up his spending pledges in a viable budget - The Yorkshire Post says
Boris Johnson and his senior ministers have promised rather a lot in the 19 days since he became Prime Minister - £2.1bn to prepare for a no-deal Brexit, £1.8bn for the NHS, and the recruitment of 20,000 police officers.
Now Mr Johnson has vowed to “come down hard” on crime, announcing the extension of police stop-and-search powers, tougher sentences for violent criminals and an investment of up to £2.5bn in creating 10,000 new prison places.
Setting out the plans, he said he was determined to tackle rising levels of knife crime amid the impression of a growing “culture of insolence” among “thugs” who believed they could act with impunity.
Given the extent of prison overcrowding - more than 60 per cent of establishments were overladen in May 2019 according to the Ministry of Justice’s (MoJ) population figures - and the serious and alarming scale of knife and violent crime on Britain’s streets, the announcement appears to be made on firm-footing.
However, it is not without its critics. Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott said the Government had opted to “appear tough” instead of dealing with the root causes of crime and claimed random stops have only “poisoned” police-community relations.
Though the MoJ said the first new prison would be built at Full Sutton in East Yorkshire, alongside the existing jail, the announcement also leaves questions around where the new prison places will be accommodated and perhaps more importantly, where the money to fund the plans will come from.
Mr Johnson must now back up all of his spending pledges in a viable budget.