James Brokenshire has welcomed the Chancellor’s Spring Budget Statement, which included extra police funding to tackle knife crime, new investment in education, and measures that accelerate the shift to a clean economy.
The Statement reported that there have been nine consecutive years of growth with borrowing reduced by four-fifths since 2009-10. The unemployment rate of 4% is the lowest rate since 1975 and the OBR forecast it will remain near historic lows over the next five years.
The Chancellor announced £100 million funding which will be made available to police forces in the worst affected areas for knife and violent crime. This funding will ease policing pressures and will pay for police forces to have more officers available to respond to crime or patrol in communities. This is on top of the £970 million of additional money that policing is already due to receive from April 2019. Police and Crime Commissioners have already committed to the recruitment and training of nearly 3,000 extra police officers.
The Chancellor also announced investment into education to equip people with the skills to succeed in the modern economy. The Budget included measures to tackle period poverty in schools by providing free sanitary products to girls in secondary schools.
On top of these important measures, the Chancellor underlined the government’s commitment to accelerate the shift to a clean economy. The government will launch a global review of the link between biodiversity and economic growth to explore ways to enhance the natural environment and deliver prosperity. In addition, the introduction of a net gain for biodiversity requirement on new developments will bring an overall increase in biodiversity when delivering necessary infrastructure and housing. The government will also launch a call for evidence to explore options to give people the choice to travel ‘zero carbon’.
Commenting following the Budget Statement, James said:
“I welcome the Chancellor’s statement which is positive news for the UK as we exit the European Union. The government is taking a balanced approach, reducing borrowing and debt, while supporting public services, investing in the economy and infrastructure, and keeping taxes low.”
“Importantly, the £100 million police funding will increase police presence to make our streets safer and to ensure action is taken to tackle knife crime which is blighting communities.”