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Police Grant

Baroness Goudie asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Home Office (Lord Williams of Mostyn): A copy of the proposals of my right honourable friend the Home Secretary for the allocation of police grant for 1999-2000 has today been placed in the Library. He intends to implement these proposals, subject to consideration of any representations he receives about them.

My right honourable friend announced in July, following the Government's Comprehensive Spending Review, that spending overall on the police service in England and Wales would be increased by £1.24 billion in the years 1999-2002. The increases will be 2.67 per cent. in 1999-2000, up to a further 2.8 per cent. in 2000-2001, and up to an extra 4 per cent. in 2001-2002. These sums represent a real terms increase, albeit small, in police spending.

The police service has indicated its support in principle for the continued distribution of police grant in accordance with a needs-based formula. My right honourable friend therefore proposes to continue to allocate the greater part of police grant according to the police funding formula.

He is, however, proposing several changes to the formula to reflect the latest data now available, and in response to the representations he has received. The principal changes he proposes are:

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    to reduce from 20 per cent. to 10 per cent. the share of funding allocated on the basis of forces' past establishments;

    to increase from 13.2 per cent. to 14.5 per cent. the proportion of funding allocated on the basis of forces' pensions commitments.

My right honourable friend is proposing that the Metropolitan Police should continue to receive additional funding in recognition of its distinct national and capital city functions. It has proved difficult for the principal formula appropriately to take account of these special circumstances. He has proposed, therefore, that a special payment of grant will be made to the Metropolitan Police over and above that available through the principal formula. He has set the amount of this special payment at £176 million.

In addition, my right honourable friend is proposing to make special payments of grant to the following police authorities in 1999-2000, in recognition of the additional costs which will be incurred in preparation for the proposed changes to the Metropolitan Police District boundaries:

    Essex: £2 million

    Hertfordshire: £3 million

    Surrey: £7 million

Other police funding proposals within the local government finance system are being announced today by my right honourable friends the Deputy Prime Minister and Secretary of State for Wales. These proposals will increase Total Standard Spending on the police in England and Wales by 2.67 per cent., or around £186 million over 1998-99. The settlement also takes account of our commitment to improve police efficiency. My right honourable friend has set a target of 2 per cent. efficiency gains year on year for the police service from 1999-2000. By achieving these targets, police authorities can reinvest the savings to help meet front-line policing priorities.

Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary, and the Audit Commission have published extensive advice to chief officers and to police authorities on many ways in which the efficiency and effectiveness of the police service can be improved within available resources.

A detailed circular on this has recently been issued by the Home Office, which, among other subjects, gives guidance on savings to be secured in the areas of training, estate management, procurement, sickness and early retirements on medical grounds.

Over the next three years, the Government will also be spending £250 million on their targeted crime reduction programme, £217 million on tackling drugs and £85 million on the Youth Justice Board's development fund.

The Government have already announced their decision to abolish crude and universal capping of local authorities from April 1999. In previous years, the Government have announced capping limits on police authority spending at the time of provisional funding settlement. No such limits are being set for next year. Nevertheless, my right honourable friend expects police authorities in England and Wales to set budgets that are responsible, prudent and reasonable, and which do not

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impose an excessive increase in council tax next year. We shall be monitoring the position very carefully.

The effect of the proposals for each police authority for 1999-2000 is set out in the table. It also shows the allocations approved by Parliament for 1998-99.

1998-1999 Allocation(1)1999-2000 Allocation(1)
Police Authority£ million£ million
English Shire forces
Avon & Somerset164.3168.4
Devon & Cornwall167.4174.4
North Yorkshire75.677.6
Thames Valley219.3224.6
West Mercia110.0113.1
English Metropolitan forces
Greater Manchester364.8375.7
South Yorkshire165.4171.3
West Midlands371.9380.6
West Yorkshire279.5286.3
London forces
Metropolitan Police(2)1,715.31,744.1
City of London(3)57.155.4
English total6,682.66,852.7
Welsh forces
North Wales73.275.1
South Wales161.3163.1
Welsh total353.0359.0


(1) Rounded to the nearest £100,000. The Allocation is the sum of: Police Grant, Transitional Grant, Police SSA, Capital Finance SSA, SSA Reduction Grant and Central Support Reduction Grant.

(2) Figure for the Metropolitan Police does not include funding allocated to the Receiver under the Environmental, Protective and Cultural Services SSA for school crossing patrols, Magistrates' Courts and the Probation Service. It does include its Special Payment.

(3) Figure for the City includes Police SSA, Grant and SSA Reduction Grant, but excludes other SSAs (e.g. Capital Financing) and Central Support Reduction Grant. These are allocated to the Common Council of the City of London as a whole in respect of all its functions.

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Boards of Visitors: National Advisory Council Annual Report

Lord Graham of Edmonton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they received a copy of the Annual Report for 1997 by the National Advisory Council for the Boards of Visitors of England and Wales.[HL187]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: I was presented with a copy of the National Advisory Council for the Boards of Visitors of England and Wales Annual Report for 1997 by its Chairman, Mrs. Ruth Draycott OBE JP, on 18 August 1998.

As the Minister for Prisons, I will consider the report and respond to the issues raised in it.

A copy of the report has been placed in the Library.

Life Sentence Prisoners

Lord Windlesham asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many inmates currently serving sentences of life imprisonment were sentenced (a) to the mandatory penalty for murder, or (b) at the discretion of court on conviction for other serious crimes.[HL43]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The latest available information is for 30 September 1998. On that date there were 3,223 mandatory and 757 discretionary life sentence prisoners in prisons in England and Wales.

Lord Windlesham asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many inmates currently serving sentences of life imprisonment, either at a Prison Service establishment or a special hospital, have served more than 30 years in custody.[HL42]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The available information relates to persons detained in Prison Service establishments whose date of sentence was more than 30 years ago. No information is available centrally regarding persons detained in special hospitals.

Provisional information for 30 September 1998 shows that 50 persons were sentenced to life imprisonment more than 30 years ago. Of these, 12 persons are recorded as being held in continuous custody. It is, however, difficult to identify persons in continuous custody, as detailed movement records for persons sentenced over 30 years ago are not complete. The number should therefore be regarded as an estimate only.

Information on the number of persons in prison by the interval since reception under sentence are published in successive volumes of Prison statistics England and Wales (Table 5.3 of the 1997 edition, Cm 4017), copies of which are in the Library.

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