MP seeks assurance that government will review police funding formula

Waveney MP Peter Aldous Picture: PARLIAMENTLIVETV

Waveney MP Peter Aldous Picture: PARLIAMENTLIVETV - Credit: Archant

A Suffolk MP has asked for assurance that the government will keep a pledge to review its method of funding the police.

Peter Aldous has long campaigned for fairer funding for Suffolk, which has among the highest case loads per officer, but gets one of the lowest funding settlements.

The Police Funding Formula divides how much each force receives by taking into account factors assessing demand.

In 2018, then policing minister Nick Hurd said the formula would be revisited at the next Spending Review – due to take place in 2019 but rescheduled for 2020.

In March this year, the Chancellor announced the Spending Review would be delayed to focus on responding to Covid-19 emergency.

This week in Parliament, Mr Aldous, MP for Waveney, asked policing minister Kit Malthouse when the review was now likely to go ahead, adding: “Suffolk Constabulary, one of the lowest funded forces from central government, has made significant efficiency savings, and the council tax has increased by over 25% in three years.

“Can the Minister confirm that the review of the grant funding formula is still going ahead in the next few months, as this is vital to the future of policing in Suffolk?”

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Mr Malthouse said he and the Home Secretary agreed that the formula was “a bit old-fashioned” and probably needed to be looked at, adding: “As part of our vision for policing in the future, no doubt we will get to it in time.”

Suffolk received £75.56m from the government for 2020/2021 – comprising £44.25m in core funding, £24.56m from the former Department of Communities and Local Government funding formula, and £6.79m in legacy council tax grants for forces that froze council tax from 2011 to 2016.

That rose to £143.82m when the police and crime commissioner increased the council tax precept by another 4.69%.

The government said this year’s settlement was the biggest increase for a decade and would help to recruit the first 6,000 of an additional 20,000 officers.

Mr Aldous was among Suffolk MPs to meet Nick Hurd ahead of his pledge to review the formula in 2018, and last February called for a radical shake-up to address disparity with similar areas.

Twelve months later, he and Ipswich MP Tom Hunt again called for a review of funding, calling it a “significant issue” which needed to be resolved soon.

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