St Helens South and Whiston MP, Marie Rimmer has secured assurances from the Home Office that Ministers will look again at areas with a lower council tax base when calculating the new police funding formula.
During an urgent question on the police funding formula, Marie Rimmer MP pressed the Policing Minister to ensure Metropolitan areas such as Merseyside did not miss out because of their smaller council tax base.
In Merseyside, 83% of police funding comes from national grant funding with the remaining 17% coming from the council tax precept. Other areas such as Surrey – which have a much greater number of high council tax band properties – only require 50% of their funding to come from the government grant.
If the Government’s planned cuts go ahead, councils in Merseyside would need to raise council tax by almost 25% to make up the shortfall in funding something which councils could not do nor could the public afford to pay.
In his response Policing Minister, The Rt Hon Mike Penning MP promised that the Home Office would look again at the impact on areas like Merseyside.
Speaking after the Marie Rimmer said: “Unlike parts of the South East, Merseyside is not an area filled with high value homes that provide a much larger level of council tax precept for police funding. When national police funding is cut, it is communities such as St Helens and Knowsley that are hit the hardest.
“I’m pleased that the Minister has agreed to look at this issue. Merseyside Police has already lost almost 1,600 police officers, PCSOs and staff since 2010 under the current funding formula and under recent proposals would be set to lose 1000 more officers and staff, including all PCSOs and the mounted division.”
Merseyside’s Police Commissioner Jane Kennedy said: “Due to the fact Merseyside Police is so heavily reliant on Government grants our region has been one of the hardest hit by these cuts.
“Merseyside Police receives such a large portion of its funding from central government to reflect the region’s population, deprivation levels and policing needs. It is vital these issues remain firmly at the forefront of the Home Office’s thinking when they come to review this issue again, so I echo Marie’s comments to the Minister and thank her for raising this important issue.”
Residents can also show their support for Merseyside Police by taking two minutes to sign the petition at www.petition.parliament.uk/petitions/110893.