Sunday News Review

10,000 Police to go

The Labour party has released data collated from police forces across England and Wales that shows 10,190 police officers are to be cut during the coming two years. In addition thousands of staff jobs will be cut or have already gone – meaning more administrative work must be carried out by police officers. Labour’s research of all police authorities (except City of London Police and non-geographical forces) has found that thousands of full time police officers are set to be axed, or have already been cut, from police forces across the UK. The research showed that 40 of the 42 forces surveyed had announced the numbers of officers likely to be cut with Gwent and Essex Police yet to declare the size of reductions to be seen. Labour says the figures expose the claim from the Tory-led Government that they can cut the Police budget by 20 per cent and still protect the frontline as false. Yvette Cooper MP, Labour’s Shadow Home Secretary, said: “These figures show the shocking and brutal reality of the 20 per cent police cuts. Far from protecting frontline policing as Ministers promised, over 10,000 police officers are being cut in the next few years alone. –

Police numbers in England and Wales will fall by more than 10,000 by the end of next year, according to new research by the Labour Party. That total will almost certainly rise as a third of forces have yet to complete their calculations. Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper said: “These figures show the shocking and brutal reality of the 20 per cent police cuts.” But Police Minister Nick Herbert questions her findings, and insists police numbers would have fallen under Labour’s plans. He also says that by making efficiency savings, forces can prioritise the frontline “so that service to the public is maintained and improved”. However, Labour has garnered its information from published material from individual police forces. – Sky News

No money for tax cuts

The Prime Minister says the growing demand to reduce the tax burden for millions of families, facing higher prices and the threat of job losses, “does not add up” in the current climate.  He also rules out a “Plan B” on economic policy in the wake of official figures showing the economy shrinking by 0.5 per cent in the final quarter of last year, which sparked fears of a double-dip recession.  The Prime Minister also suggests the government will not take further action against bankers’ bonuses, arguing that he is not interested in giving banks a “kick in the pants” – but in getting them lending again, particularly to small businesses.  Bob Diamond, the chief executive of Barclays, is set to get a £9 million bonus this year. Stuart Gulliver, the new chief executive of HSBC, is also expected to get a bonus of as much as £9 million later this month.  Mr Cameron points out his government is protecting the poorest and lifting tens of thousands out of tax altogether by changing tax thresholds. He insists he leads a “pro-enterprise government”. – Daily Telegraph

David Cameron has ruled out ‘significant’ tax cuts while the Government is cutting spending to reduce the deficit. The Prime Minister said he wanted to offer people ‘relief’, but suggested that would only be possible ‘at the end of this hard road’. His comments came ahead of the much anticipated March 23 Budget. David Cameron has ruled out ‘significant’ tax cuts in the forthcoming Budget, despite wanting to offer people ‘relief’ Chancellor George Osborne is facing calls to reduce the burden on hard-pressed voters as inflation spirals. Tory Mayor of London Boris Johnson urged him last month to set out ‘a clear direction of travel’ on how taxes could be reduced. But Mr Cameron insisted there was no ‘Plan B’ on the coalition’s deficit-reduction strategy and said tax cuts would only undo the work of painful curbs in public spending. ‘I would love to see tax reductions. I’m a tax-cutting Tory and I believe in tax cuts, but when you’re borrowing 11 per cent of your GDP, it’s not possible to make significant net tax cuts. It just isn’t,’ he said in an interview with The Sunday Telegraph. ‘It’s no good saying we’re going to deal with the deficit by cutting spending, but then we’re going to make things worse again by cutting taxes. I’m afraid it doesn’t add up.’ Later in the interview, he added: ‘Do I want to see, at the end of this hard road, relief and lower taxes for hard-working people? Yes I do.’ – Daily Mail

Anti AV campaign gathers pace

Campaigners against electoral reform are to distribute six million leaflets taunting Nick Clegg for describing the proposed alternative vote (AV) system as a “miserable little compromise” before the last general election. The No to AV campaign, whose push to maintain the “first past the post” system is backed by David Cameron, believes that Clegg’s assessment of AV last April fatally undermines his case for adopting the method as it shows that even he is unenthusiastic. The leaflet campaign is part of a push by the cross-party “no” camp to associate AV in the public mind with the Liberal Democrat leader and his party, whose popularity has plummeted since the pre-election upsurge of “Cleggmania”. The “no” campaign includes veteran Labour veterans and street-fighters such as John Prescott, Margaret Beckett and John Reid, and is expected to adopt a ruthless approach in its attempt to deprive the Lib Dems of a trophy that would cement the coalition and boost the party’s chances of playing “kingmaker” in future governments. In another sign of the “go for Clegg” strategy, Joan Ryan, deputy director of No to AV, who is a former Labour MP, accused advocates of the new system of trying to hide the Lib Dem leader before the campaign proper has even begun. – the Guardian

Livermore has another life

Ed Miliband has offered a job to a former aide of Gordon Brown who claimed to have been unfairly blamed along with the new Labour leader for 2007’s on-off Election fiasco. Spencer Livermore, Mr Brown’s Director of Political Strategy, visited Mr Miliband’s Commons office last week for talks on a new role. Mr Livermore resigned from No 10 following Mr Brown’s disastrous decision to call off a snap Election in the autumn of 2007. The aide was said to have been reduced to tears by the notoriously hot-tempered Prime Minister. Although Mr Livermore denied the claim, sources say he was badly scarred and had to be comforted by friends. Labour insiders say Mr Miliband wants Slough-born Mr Livermore, 35 – judged by Pink News as the most powerful gay man in Britain when he worked at No 10 – to join his team.‘He has one of the sharpest brains in politics. He’d be a tremendous asset,’ said a  source. ‘He understands voters’ instincts better than anyone.’ Mr Livermore originally worked alongside Mr Miliband when they were advising Mr Brown as Chancellor. Later the pair were among the few aides in the room when Mr Brown aborted his November 2007 Election proposal. Mr Livermore said that immediately after the meeting Mr Miliband observed: ‘I bet within 20 minutes we find we’re going to get the blame for this.’ – Daily Mail

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