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National politics

Labour waste, Tory cuts

Today the Labour Party have come out with a typically mendacious party political broadcast. It is shot through with Gordon Brown’s dividing lines. One of Labour’s actors, “Tina”, says:

David Cameron would cut a £160m from crime-fighting budgets right now, that is the equivalent of losing three and half thousand police officers, how can we afford to take this risk?

At their Cameron knocking website cameronsconservatives.co.uk they go on to say:

David Cameron wants to cut public spending this year – in the middle of a recession – by £5 billion. Most departments including the Home Office would be restricted to a smaller, 1 per cent, real increase in their budgets this year. For the Home Office, that would mean having £160 million less this year in the middle of a recession to spend on fighting crime and protecting the UK’s borders.

Since January, the Conservatives have failed to set out exactly how the Home Office would be expected to reduce its spending in this way in the middle of a recession. But £160 million is the equivalent to the cost of employing 3,500 police officers.

It really is not hard to work out how to take £160 million out of the Home Office budget right now without touching a single front line crime fighter. Just have a quick look at the 2008 Home Office Departmental Report. Here are a few facts and figures:

  • Administration budget for 2009/10 £419 million – seems like a good place to start
  • Home Secretary’s private office staff – 69 people
  • Communications Directorate staff – 171 people
  • Human Resources – 468 people
  • Accountants – 655 people
  • Total Home Office headquarters staff – 3,182
  • Number of civil servants earning over £100K – 37 people

You can see their run rate on consultancy spending here – about £130 million a year.

Let me at them.