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Spring Budget: Critics round on Chancellor for not mentioning police funding or pay


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Philip Hammond said he will restore public finances to balance.


The Fed, unions and the Mayor of London have criticised the Chancellor for not mentioning public sector pay or police funding in his Spring Budget.

Philip Hammond sang the praises of unexpectedly strong UK growth figures, and introduced policies in health, education and tax today.

He was delivering a statement in which he said his plan is: “To enhance our productivity and protect our living standards, to restore our public finances to balance, and to invest for our future.”

But a lack of mention of police finances drew an instant rebuke from Mayor of London Sadiq Khan.

A statement from his office said: “Sadiq has warned that government’s refusal to fully fund London’s police service is putting the capital’s safety at risk.

“Any further cuts would make it increasingly difficult to maintain the strategic target of 32,000 officers, making it harder to keep Londoners safe from growing security threats.”

The government has insisted it is now protecting police funding, if PCCs increase council tax levels.

Police Federation of England and Wales chairman Steve White said: "With no specific mention of emergency service finances we expect the government to uphold its promise to protect police budgets.

“Leader of the opposition, Jeremy Corbyn, made the point today that the economy is not working for neighbourhoods due to the falling number of police officers.

"Our officers are stretched beyond reasonable capacity, and we will continue to push this fact back to government. In order to protect the public, the police service must have the right investment.”

Elsewhere unions which represent police staff criticised the lack of movement on public sector pay.

Unison general secretary Dave Prentis said: “The pay boost for Westminster politicians should’ve signalled a decent pay rise for the rest of the public sector, especially with inflation almost double the one per cent cap.

“But without a mention from the Chancellor, public service employees will be feeling they’re the forgotten part of the ‘jam’ generation. Most are not managing at all.

“There was nothing today to relieve their ongoing pay pain, and as wages rise elsewhere, public sector workers are being left further and further behind.”

The PCS union, which represents Met Police staff, expressed a similar view.

A statement from the union quoted Theresa May's first speech as Prime Minister in which she said: “If you’re from an ordinary working class family, life is much harder than many people at Westminster realise […]. If you are one of those families, if you are just managing I want to address you directly.”

General secretary Mark Serwotka said public sector employees are “just managing” and pledged to “fight to break the one per cent pay cap”.

Police officer remuneration is now decided by an independent panel, but it takes note of overall public sector pay levels.

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