POLITICS

George Osborne Refuses To Rule Out Cuts To Police

22/11/2015 11:27 GMT | Updated 22/11/2015 11:59 GMT
BBC

George Osborne has refused to rule out making cuts to the police when he unveils his spending review next week, but insisted the country would be protected against a Paris-style terror attack.

The chancellor has been under pressure not to slash police budgets in the wake of the Isis assault on the French capital. Home secretary Theresa May had been in last-ditch negotiations over reductions that a succession of senior police officers warned would leave Britain unable to deal with a major terrorist incident.

Osborne told the BBC's Andrew Marr programme this morning he was "absolutely confident" the security services would have sufficient resources to keep the population safe if Isis launched a gun and bomb attack in this country.

"Precisely because we are making difficult decisions in other parts of our budget, we can give our military more kit, we can increase our counter terrorism budget by 30% and we can also take action to stop guns coming into this country and deal with gunmen on the streets on this country," he said.

He added: "Of course the police do an incredibly important and brave job on our behalf. Every pubic service has to make sure it is spending the public's money, the people who are watching this programme's money, and there are efficiencies that can be made in the police and how they buy their equipment, and how they operate their back offices.

"We made savings in the police budget in the last parliament and actually the number of neighbourhood police officers went up."

Osborne played down reports of bitter rows within the cabinet over the depth of cuts to non-protected departments - including a reported threat to resign by work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith - insisting deals had been reached "amicably".

He hinted that his target of running a £10 billion surplus by 2020 could be revised down as he deals with worse than expected borrowing figures.

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell said any cuts to frontline policing "undermine our security".