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Mayor’s Budget: £234m for policing & tackling crime

PICTURED: Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan

THE MAYOR of London, Sadiq Khan has announced plans to invest an additional £234m in policing and tackling violent crime in the capital.

This includes an additional £119 million from London’s business rates to support policing numbers in future years. This will help to protect existing officer numbers from proposed technical future Government changes to the business rates system.

Khan’s Budget also proposes to commit £20.4 million to take further measures to tackle violence. This will support additional moves against serious violence, including tackling gangs and enhanced provision youth workers at hospital Accident and Emergency units.

Publishing his final Budget papers on Friday (Feb 15), the Mayor has confirmed that he intends to increase his share of council tax by an average of 50p a week from April, just below nine per cent overall. This is the maximum allowed by the Government and most of the proceeds will directly fund the Metropolitan Police.

The investment announced today is on top of the additional £95m that the Mayor has previously committed in his budget, mostly from council tax. The £95m includes:

• £84.8m for the Met raised almost entirely from an 11 per cent increase to the Mayor’s council tax policing precept. This is the equivalent of 46p a week and will be split between a number of crime fighting measures, including new officers, specialist investigators to disrupt gang violence and new state-of-the-art equipment.

• £6.8m from council tax and business rates to fund the Mayor’s new Violence Reduction Unit (VRU) as part of his public health approach to tackling all forms of violence in the capital.

• £3.5m to be spent on other anti-violence initiatives, for example making permanent the successful ‘Information Sharing to Tackle Violence’ pilot that develops more effective data sharing between Community Safety Partnerships, health services and other violence reduction partners.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “Keeping Londoners safe is my number-one priority and I am determined to do everything in my power to support the Met Police and tackle the complex causes of crime. The government has forced the Met to make £850m of cuts, resulting in officer numbers dropping to a dangerous 15-year low of less than 30,000.

“Despite warm words from Ministers, they have repeatedly refused to reverse the huge cuts imposed on the Met and have instead shifted the burden of police funding on to the council tax payer, which we know hits the poorest hardest.

“The Government has clearly abdicated its responsibility to keep Londoners safe, leaving me to take the difficult decision to raise council tax and divert business rates for a second year in a row to invest in the police and our long-term public health approach.”

The 2019/2020 budget covers the entire Greater London Authority Group – including Transport for London, the London Legacy Development Corporation, Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation, the Metropolitan Police service and the London Fire Brigade.

The draft budget also takes into account the delay to the opening of Crossrail and that the Mayor has found additional funding to complete the project. Its plans include:

• Pushing ahead with the Mayor’s ambitious proposals to make London a cleaner, safer, healthier city through investment to improve London’s streets and create better and more accessible public transport – at the same time as continuing to freeze TfL fares;

• The introduction of the Ultra Low Emission Zone in central London in April 2019;

• Continuing to tackle London’s housing crisis by supporting thousands of new homes for social rent as part of City Hall’s commitment to start at least 116,000 new genuinely affordable homes by 2022;

• Increasing funding to the London Fire Brigade in the aftermath of the Grenfell Tower fire to ensure fire engines arrive at emergency incidents within targets.

The Mayor’s final Budget is due to go before a meeting of the London Assembly on February 25.

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