POLITICS

Spending Review: George Osborne Caves To Pressure And Promises Not To Cut Frontline Police Budgets

25/11/2015 14:41 GMT | Updated 25/11/2015 14:59 GMT

George Osborne has caved to pressure from police chiefs, Labour and even his own Tory MPs by promising not to cut cash for police forces over the next five years.

Ahead of his review of Government spending announced today, the Chancellor had faced dire warnings over the impact of slashing back on neighbourhood "bobbies on the beat" in the aftermath of the Paris terror attacks, and was expected to urge them to do more with less.

But he today said “now is the time to back our police and give them the tools to do the job” to delight from the Tory back benches.

“There will be no cuts in the police budget at all. There will be real terms protection for police funding. The police protect us and we’re going to protect them.”

By contrast, the Department for Local Government and Communities, which funds local councils, will see its budget hacked back by 29%.

It came amid the Chancellor promising a full U-turn on axing tax credits, top-up benefits for working families.

Labour had called for cuts of no more than 5%, and Mr Osborne even teased Shadow Home Secretary Andy Burnham over previous representations that police budgets should be scaled-back by no more than 10%.

But Mr Burnham hailed a victory after policing became the main focus of Labour attacks in the run-up to the eagerly-anticipated spending review.

He said: “Coming after tax credits, this was the second major U-turn forced by Labour.

“The Government had told the police to expect 25 per cent cuts and even up to the last minute it was expected that that would stick.

"This U-turn is a direct result of the case against cuts on the scale made by Labour and intensified by the terrible atrocities in Paris.

“We will study the small print but it is good that the Government has listened.”

Paddy Tipping, chair of the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners finance group, said: "We praise the government that during this difficult time they have taken the decision to not cut the police budget.

“We continue to be committed to innovation and reform to provide a secure service to the public who value neighbourhood policing. We will be working together and with the government to continue to invest in new technology; reduce back off costs and share resources where possible.”

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