As part of the Home Office’s Funding Formula review, it has come to light that a statistical error has led to serious miscalculations about police funding. Following this news, changes to reform the amount of funding received by individual police forces across England and Wales will be delayed.
Under the reviewed funding proposals projected to forces across the country, Derbyshire Constabulary had been informed that the force stood to gain in the region of £20 million based on the 2015/16 budget from 2016/2017. Due to the miscalculations, Derbyshire now looks set to gain £13 million less than the original Home Office projection of £20 million.
On Monday 9th November, the Minister responsible, the Rt Hon Mike Penning MP, Minister of State for Policing, Crime and Criminal Justice and Victims was called to Parliament to answer an Urgent Question. To represent my constituents and raise this matter directly with the Minister responsible I asked:
Nigel Mills MP: “I am not sure what was the worst news for Derbyshire. First, there was the news that the proposed new formula was unduly generous to Derbyshire, now there is the news that we are stuck with the outdated, unfair existing formula for at least another year. May I urge the Minister to stick to his guns and press ahead and get a new formula in place as soon as he possibly can?”
Mike Penning MP, Minister of State for Policing, Crime and Criminal Justice and Victims: “So many Committees, so many experts outside this House and inside this House—I have met lots of them in the past couple of weeks—believe that we need a new funding formula. There is cross-party agreement on that, so that is what we need to do. I did say that there would be winners and losers, and I apologise to Derbyshire for the delay.”
The funding formula desperately needs reform, Derbyshire constabulary has historically been under-funded and this news is extremely disappointing. Whilst we need to ensure the funding formula is right – and I welcome the Government’s commitment to doing so in light of this error – this mistake is very disappointing and the further delay is a kick in the teeth after what seemed to be such good news.
It’s unacceptable that Derbyshire Constabulary will now have to wait another year for the correct funding due to errors made by the Home Office. I know Derbyshire Constabulary are very concerned following this news and I welcome the Government’s commitment to engaging with them. I will continue to raise this matter in the House and with the Home Office.