7th September 2011 - PM
At PMQs earlier today the Prime Minister told the House of Commons that the estimated cost of the coalition’s shambolic plans for holding elections for the posts of elected police authority commissioners is £25 million .
These elections are now being planned as stand-alone elections for November 2012 after internal wrangling within the coalition led to them being postponed, with the Lib Dems fearful that if they were to coincide with local elections their party’s reputation as being ‘soft on crime’ would set them at an acute disadvantage and result in them losing further swathes of councillors should crime become a dominant issue in the election campaign.
However, Nick Clegg gave a more plausible account of the costs involved on the 5th of April this year when in reference to the coalition’s referendum on AV he told the House of Commons that “The cost of holding the referendum is similar to the cost of holding a general election”, he went on to spell out that “This Government have set aside £120million for the costs of the next general election”.
So who is right? Granted, the elections for elected police commissioners will not take place across the whole of the UK, but the elections will cover 70% of the UK population – so it is reasonable to attribute 70% of the cost of a UK wide poll, this gives us a figure of £84 million.
This is yet another example of Cameron playing fast and loose with the facts on the floor of the House of Commons. The Prime Minister needs to come clean and set out just how much money is being wasted on the election of elected police commissioners at a time when police forces across the country are being hit by savage cuts, resulting in the loss of thousands of police officers.