Fiona Twycross has hit out at the Conservative Government for its continuing cuts to police funding in London, saying that the budget cuts – begun when Theresa Mayhem was the Home Secretary – and the “reckless austerity agenda” is risking “undermining our ability to keep Londoners safe”.
Tory members of the London Assembly, including “Silent” Steve O’Connell, the Conservative AM for Sutton and Croydon, and Shaun Bailey, the Conservative candidate for London Mayor in 2020, yesterday voted against the Mayor of London’s budget for 2019-2020.
Croydon resident Twycross, the London-wide Labour Assembly Member, and her party colleagues ensured that the Mayor’s budget, which will deliver £234million for policing in the face of significant government cuts, was passed.
Since 2010, the government has slashed the Metropolitan Police budget by £850million, with an additional £335million in savings required across the next four years.
This has led to police officer numbers falling below 30,000 for the first time in a decade. The Mayor, Sadiq Khan, has pledged to deliver £234million to bolster policing in the capital.
Earlier this month, the Mayor announced £119million of new funds diverted from business rates to protect existing police officer numbers, and £20.4million to take further steps to tackle violence. This is in addition to the £95million announced by City Hall in December to fund a number of policing measures including new officers, the new Violence Reduction Unit, and specialist investigators to disrupt gang violence.
London Assembly Conservatives put forward an amendment to the budget which will have cut 300 jobs at City Hall to put more money into the policing budget. Twycross said such a move would undermine the delivering of affordable housing and big public health interventions such as the Ultra-Low Emission Zone. The Tory amendment was not carried.
“Our city has long been subject to the reckless austerity agenda of Westminster, which has seen funding for our vital public services snatched away,” Twycross said.
“The Government’s determination to strip as much funding from the Met as they can risks undermining our ability to keep Londoners safe. At a time when our policing challenges are starker than ever before, City Hall is taking action to remedy the worst effects of these cuts.
“Those who voted against the Mayor’s budget yesterday are guilty of shameful hypocrisy.
“We hear their warm words about the need for better policing, yet in the same breath they reject plans for an additional £234million in police funding.
“They harbour a lurking disdain for public services, but it’s not shared by Londoners – and they’ll have to provide answers to the people they are meant to represent.”
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