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Update: Grantham MP Nick Boles criticises PCC Alan Hardwick’s plan to raise the police precept

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MP for Grantham Nick Boles has told the Journal that the police and crime commissioner for Lincolnshire should follow the example set by the county council in freezing its part of the council tax.

As reported online earlier today, PCC Alan Hardwick has slammed the Government’s plan to cut police funding by 4.8 per cent, blaming the decision for a rise of up to two per cent in the police precept.

He went on to say he had the support of the county’s MPs in fighting for fairer funding for Lincolnshire, the lowest funded force per head of population in the country.

However, although Grantham Mr Boles has promised his support in attempts to secure fair grant funding, he has criticised the PCC’s plans to increase the precept. He said: “I will be happy to join any attempt to secure fair grant funding for Lincolnshire Police from the Home Office, as I have done in the past when Lincolnshire MPs have had meetings with the Home Secretary and the Policing Minister.

“But I do not believe that grant cuts justify an increase in the police precept. Lincolnshire County Council has had to cope with far bigger cuts than the police and is proposing to freeze council tax for the fourth year in a row. That is the example the police and crime commissioner should follow.”

11.40am:

An attack on Government plans to cut policing budgets by 4.8 per cent has been launched by Lincolnshire’s police and crime commissioner (PCC), as he announces an “inevitable” rise in the policing precept of up to two per cent to help the force make savings of £1 million.

PCC Alan Hardwick has accused the Government of “picking people’s pockets” of £80 million to prop-up Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and the failing Independent Police Complaints Commission.

He said: “They’ve picked people’s pockets to pay for something that, quite frankly, the people of Lincolnshire, nor the people of any other county, are bothered about. What they are bothered about is local policing.”

Another bee in his bonnet comes as £50 million is promised by the coalition to help “wasteful” forces find ways to save money. He believes Lincolnshire, as the lowest funded force in England per head of population, is the most efficient.

He added: “What all this means is that a rise in the council tax precept that pays for policing is now inevitable. That rise will not be more than two per cent, but it will be more than I wanted it to be.

“That is the Government’s fault. They have used sleight of hand, which is reprehensible.”

MPs representing parts of the county have joined the PCC, he said, in fighting for a fairer deal for the county.

Mr Hardwick said: “I have already spoken to the Home Office. My message was delivered strongly to them verbally before Christmas.

“I intend now, in the face of this raid on the pockets of Lincolnshire council tax payers, to mobilise all our county MPs and get them to join me, which they said they will, in trying to persuade the Government that enough is enough, and let’s have fairness enter the equation for a change.”

 

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