Crime Programme Funding Cut

(Telegraph) – THE GOVERNMENT is cutting the budget of a key crime reduction programme, according to a leaked letter.

Capital grants handed to councils in England under the Safer and Stronger Communities fund will be cut by 50 per cent next year.

The letter from a senior Home Office official was sent to council chief executives today and released by the Conservatives.

Chris Grayling, the shadow home secretary, said it showed ministers were slashing budgets on crime fighting while boasting about spending.

”This shows just how hypocritical the Government is being. On the one hand they are boasting about how they are spending money to protect public services whilst on the quiet slashing budgets in key areas like fighting crime.

”From Gordon Brown downwards, this is a Government that’s trying deceive the British public about what it’s doing.”

The fund is used by councils to tackle crime, anti-social behaviour and the impact of drugs and is targeted at some of the poorest communities in the country. Next year it will total nearly £10 million.

Separate figures published today showed sharp falls in the number Sharp falls of burglaries and robberies.

Quarterly figures from police in England and Wales showed the country appeared to be defying predictions of a recession-linked crime wave.

Domestic break-ins fell 8% between July and September last year, according to police statistics. Robberies were down 9%.

Police figures indicated the total number of crimes recorded by the police was down 8% and violent crimes were down 4%.

Nevertheless, in the leaked letter, the Home Office’s director of drugs, alcohol and partnerships accepts the budget cuts are “likely to have an impact on local delivery”.

The current spending round within the Home Office was “particularly difficult”, the letter states, and cuts have been made by ministers because of a “significant budget shortfall”.

The letter states: “I am writing to you… to advise that, following what has been a particularly difficult 2010/11 capital allocation exercise within the Home Office, ministers have decided to reduce these grants by 50%.

“Against a backdrop of considerable pressure on all public expenditure, the Home Office has a significant shortfall in its capital budget against requirements.

“As you would expect, this shortfall is, in turn, reflected in a reduced allocation to the Crime and Policing Group and has necessitated some very difficult decisions as to how we minimise the impact on areas that we are funding.”

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