A group of Labour MPs have branded suggestions that council taxpayers should pay more for policing following government cuts ‘a slap in the face’ for Lancashire residents.
In a letter sent to Policing Minister Nick Hurd ahead of this year’s Comprehensive Spending Review, Fleetwood MP Cat Smith said: “The very suggestion of burdening council taxpayers with further increases for policing are unjustifiable, unsustainable and a slap in the face for the hardworking, honest residents of Lancashire.
“Increases in funding for Lancashire Constabulary must come from an increase in the government grant and not from furhter increases to council tax precept.
“Lancashire residents expect a police force that is properly funded by central government, and that is able to respond appropriately with the relevant resources when needed.”
The letter was signed by Blackpool South MP Gordon Marsden, Preston MP Sir Mark Hendrick, Chorley MP Sir Lindsay Hoyle, Burnley MP Julie Cooper, West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper, Blackburn MP Kate Hollern and Hyndburn MP Graham Jones.
The letter raised concerns that Lancashire police has lost more than 800 officers and 350 staff since 2010 due to continued savings of £82m. A further £22m of savings needs to be found by 2022.
Council tax for policing increased this year, with many band D houses (the middle council tax band) paying an extra £24.
Ms Smith said: “Almost 60 per cent of properties in Lancashire are classed as either in band A or band B (the lowest two bands) therefore increasing the intake from band D properties contributes less than it would do in more prosperous areas. This exacerbates existing inequality of service faced by people in poorer areas, which characteristically have higher demand for policing in the first instance.
“A postcode lottery of police funding will persist... until proper funding is provided through grant by central government.
“We believe that coucnil taxpayers should not have to bear the brunt of any increase in police funding.”