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West Midlands PCC condemns ‘farce’ of the £37m police grant that never was

West Midlands PCC condemns ‘farce’ of the £37m police grant that never was

🕔10.Nov 2015

Police Commissioner David Jamieson has hit out at the “farce” of an additional £37 million the Government promised the West Midlands force, which has been delayed for a year after civil servants based the payment on the wrong data.

Three weeks ago all forces in England and Wales were given the results of a Home Office review of the funding formula used to work out police funding. The good news for Mr Jamieson was that the West Midlands would be handed a significant increase in funding.

But yesterday Policing Minister Mike Penning apologised to the House of Commons and said he would delay the new national funding formula for a year after conceding that the “wrong figures” were used when working out the payments.

He had already faced the threat of legal action from police commissioners in parts of the country where the new formula would result in sharp cuts in grant.

The highly embarrassing admission was seized upon by shadow police minister Jack Dromey, Labour MP for Birmingham Erdington, who accused Mr Penning of presiding over an “omnishambles”.

Mr Jamieson had described the promised £37 million increase as a “small beacon of hope” for the West Midlands force, which he said had been under-funded and treated unfairly by the Government over many years.

He said:

It is shocking that such a mistake could be made on such an important issue.

This really is farcical. The people of the West Midlands need a fairer deal now. It is quite frankly shocking that the Home Office has made a mistake like this and that as a result the West Midlands will continue to get an unfair deal.

The independent National Audit Office has recognised that we have been hit harder than anywhere else, this funding deal was a small beacon of hope. To have it delayed for another year is really disappointing.

The new, now discredited, Home Office formula would have seen the proportion of funding that the West Midlands force receives increase from 6.11 per cent to 6.63 per cent – equivalent to £37 million.

When the figures were announced by Mr Penning last month, Mr Jamieson described the decision as a “victory for common sense”, but warned that he would press the Government “to make sure that this change is actually implemented fairly in full as soon as possible and not delayed”.

He added:

West Midlands Police has faced double the cuts of other forces over the last five years and I’m determined to make sure that we are not disproportionately hit again.

I won’t be satisfied until we have actually received the money and will keep pressing until it is actually implemented.”

West Midlands Police has the second lowest council tax take in the country which means we are more reliant on government funding.  The Government needs to look at this area and the lack of flexibility of it in future.

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