Bristol MP Kerry McCarthy demands more government cash for police

Kerry McCarthy is demanding the government gives Bristol more money to fund its police.

The Bristol East MP says local council tax payers should not be forced to pay more, despite police budgets already being stretched and crime rates on the rise.

Her demand comes as a consultation on Bristol City Council’s next budget states council tax could rise by up to 4% over the next two years.

“Cuts have consequences and the crime figures are proof of this,” she said.

“The Government has been warned by senior policing figures across the country that the current funding situation is unsustainable.

“Local council leaders have also, this week, spoken out about the impact Government cuts are having on their ability to find essential services.

“Expecting local council tax payers to fund policing us not the answer. The Government needs to give our police the resources they need to tackle crime and keep people safe.”

Avon and Somerset Police have already had to make £65 million worth of cuts since 2010, losing nearly 700 police officers on the front line.

The Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens and Chief Constable Andy Marsh have warned in a report that their budgets are now at “tipping point”.

And in a letter written to the Secretary of State, Mayor Marvin Rees said this week: ”After eight years of austerity, many councils have reached breaking point and council budgets are perilously close to collapse.”

The Bristol Budget consultation opened on 6 November asking for the public’s view on whether council tax rates should rise by 4% for 2019/20, and will be coming to a close in the next two weeks.

The consultation survey explains how an increase of 3% in council tax next year would close a budget gap of £23.2m and deliver a balanced budget.

If there is no increase, an additional £6.1m would need to be found by reducing money spent on services.

With a mixed response from the public as to whether the increase should go ahead, there are strong views on where the money should be spent.

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