North East police and fire services hit with biggest spending cuts in the country

Police and fire services in the North East have been hit by some of the biggest spending cuts in the country

Police help tackle the underage drinking problem in the North East
Police help tackle the underage drinking problem in the North East

Police and fire services in the North East have been hit by some of the biggest spending cuts in the country. Both services have had their budgets slashed by five per cent in just one year, according to the Chartered Institute of Finance and Accountancy.

Analysis by the Chartered Institute of Finance and Accountancy (CIFA) sets out the impact of Government spending decisions on the region by comparing last year’s expenditure with the current financial year.

Spending on police services in the North East region in 2013-14 will amount to £200.14 for every resident, down from £210.8 last year.

It means total funding for policing in the North East falls from £547.6m to £520m.

And cash for fire and rescue services falls from £53.48 per person to £50.99.

In total, fire funding will fall from £139.4m to £132.4m.

But some services actually enjoy an increase.

Investment in education is set to increase from £759.81 per person to £775.41.

This is higher than the English average of £730.47 per head, but still much lower than in London, where £901.26 is spent per person.

The data shows that overall spending by councils in England is estimated to fall by 1 per cent this year to £93.8bn. Last year, spending fell by 4.8 per cent to £94.7bn.

The biggest losers in service provision across England will be culture, with a 4.2 per cent reduction in budgeted spending, followed closely by policing, with a 3.8 per cent cut.

Ian Carruthers, CIPFA’s director, policy and technical said: “There is a growing need for the public sector to start to engage in tough conversations with local people about the future shape and nature of local government and what local communities can continue to expect in services in the age of continued austerity and beyond.”

Shadow Treasury Minister and Newcastle North MP Catherine McKinnell said: “These figures again demonstrate that it is our region bearing a greater burden of the Conservative-Liberal Government’s cuts, with the Fire and Police Services seeing cuts of five percent.

“We have already seen Northumbria Police lose 437 police officers compared to 2010 and Tyne and Wear Fire Service lost 130 staff over the last year alone, and I am greatly concerned that the North East will see additional cuts of £27mto police services and £7m to fire services.

“Our emergency services do fantastic work in often extremely difficult circumstances and I worry about the impact of these disproportionate cuts on the vital work which they undertake.”

Newcastle Easts MP Nick Brown said: “The Chartered Institute is absolutely right, but what is happening to police and fire funding is part of a wider pattern.

“The NHS funding formula and local government funding formula have all been twisted to suck money, and therefore demand, disproportionately from the North East of England.

“The motive for this is entirely political. The Coalition Government has altered the public sector funding formula to favour the areas they represent.”

I worry about the impact of these disproportionate cuts on the vital work they do

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