Rishi Sunak pledges £435m in crime-busting budge

‘I’ll make women safer’: Rishi Sunak pledges £435million to beef up CCTV, street lighting and sex offence prosecutions in crime-busting budget

  • Mr Sunak is expected to say that he has earmarked £355 million for measures
  • Chancellor expects the CPS to devote a significant proportion of the extra funds
  • Coincides with the rising number of drug spiking cases around the country

Chancellor Rishi Sunak will announce a £435 million crime-fighting package in this week’s combined Budget and Spending Review – with a particular emphasis on tackling violence against women.

In his statement to MPs on Wednesday, Mr Sunak is expected to say that he has earmarked £355 million for measures such as improved street lighting and better CCTV, with a further £80 million going to the Crown Prosecution Service.

In an acknowledgement of the national revulsion over the murder of Sarah Everard, who was kidnapped, raped and murdered by serving Metropolitan Police officer Wayne Couzens, the Chancellor expects the CPS to devote a significant proportion of the extra funds to improving its response to cases of sexual violence.

It also coincides with rising alarm over the number of cases around the country of women being drugged after being spiked by injection or through having their drinks tampered with in nightclubs.

Exact details of the funding were still being thrashed out with Justice Secretary Dominic Raab this weekend, with Mr Raab understood to be the last Cabinet Minister to reach agreement with the Chancellor over the final Spending Review settlement.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak (pictured) will announce a £435 million crime-fighting package in this week’s combined Budget and Spending Review – with a particular emphasis on tackling violence against women

The most contentious part of the Budget has already been announced – the £12 billion rise in National Insurance to fund social care in England and help the NHS recover from the pandemic. 

The 1.25p in the pound increase, which takes effect from April, has unsettled many Tory backbenchers who regard it as ‘unconservative’. 

The NHS already accounts for 8 per cent of GDP, up from 3 per cent in the 1950s.

Former Tory Cabinet Minister David Davis today raises dire fears that Mr Sunak will drive the economy ‘onto the rocks’. 

Writing in today’s Mail on Sunday, opposite, Mr Davis casts doubt on the Chancellor’s ‘Thatcherite’ credentials and as a worthy successor to the Iron Lady’s ‘great Chancellor’ Nigel Lawson.

The ex-Brexit Secretary also says the Treasury under Mr Sunak is ‘too concerned with image over substance’, and that hiking taxes now to pay for Covid debt risks ‘stoking a cost-of-living crisis’ on a par with Labour’s ‘Winter of Discontent’ in the 1970s.

Mr Davis writes: ‘The way to dealing with such debt levels is to do exactly what we did after the war – issue the modern-day equivalent of “war bonds”, to be repaid over 50 years or more…

In an acknowledgement of the national revulsion over the murder of Sarah Everard (pictured) the Chancellor expects the CPS to devote a significant proportion of the extra funds to improving its response to cases of sexual violence

‘Once we have dealt with the debt, we can set about balancing the books, but by tax cuts – not tax increases.’

Allies of Mr Sunak say that his room for manoeuvre has been severely restricted by the billions of pounds he had to borrow to protect the economy during the pandemic, along with inflationary pressures building up in the economy due to factors such as higher energy prices.

The Bank of England has cut its GDP forecasts for the third quarter by one percentage point to 2 per cent, and now expects inflation to rise above 4 per cent.

With national debt running at almost 100 per cent of GDP, the highest since 1963, Mr Sunak is already paying £9 billion in interest every month on borrowing – a sum which will rocket if interest rates rise from their record low of 0.1 per cent. 

Serving Metropolitan Police officer Wayne Couzens

However he was given some extra wriggle room after Government borrowing fell to £21.8 billion in September, from £28.8 billion in the same month a year earlier, a larger fall than expected.

The new money to tackle crime will include a rise in funding to help victims to £185 million, which amounts to an 85 per cent increase since 2020, while £50 million will go towards the Safer Streets Fund for investment in CCTV, improved street lighting, intruder alarms and locked gates around alleyways.

The fund also helps local authorities and police forces to pioneer new crime-prevention strategies through programmes to raise awareness and change attitudes.

The CPS will be expected to improve the way it deals with rape cases by increasing prosecution numbers, helping restore victims’ confidence, and improving their collaboration with the police.

The funding will also be used to help the CPS prosecute additional cases brought into the system by the Government’s commitment to recruit 20,000 extra police officers.

Labour last night called for VAT on domestic energy bills to be scrapped over the winter to alleviate a cost of living crisis (file image)

Mr Sunak said: ‘We should all feel as safe, whether we’re walking our streets, staying at home or going out for the evening – but this is sometimes not the case, especially for young women.

‘That is why we’re committing hundreds of millions of pounds to change this, from boosting investment in better CCTV and street lighting, to better home security and support for repeat victims.’

Labour last night called for VAT on domestic energy bills to be scrapped over the winter to alleviate a cost of living crisis.

Rishi Sunak will cut air passenger duty for flights within the UK as part of the Government’s ‘levelling up’ agenda 

Rishi Sunak is planning to cut air passenger duty for flights within the UK in the Budget, as part of the Government’s drive to ‘level up’ the country and cement closer ties within the Union.

The move will coincide with a hike in the rate for long-haul destinations such as Australia, South Africa and Japan as the Treasury tries to burnish its ‘jet zero’ environmental credentials ahead of next month’s COP26 climate summit in Glasgow.

The duty, which is currently levied in two bands – under 2,000 miles and above 2,000 miles – is paid by airlines, but is usually passed on to their customers. 

The move will coincide with a hike in the rate for long-haul destinations such as Australia, South Africa and Japan as the Treasury tries to burnish its ‘jet zero’ environmental credentials ahead of next month’s COP26 climate summit in Glasgow

The maximum levied per passenger, which is already due to rise to £554 next April, is likely to go even higher for destinations more than 6,000 miles away.

The Chancellor is also planning to help ‘level up’ the country by spending £6.9 billion on improving rail, tram, bus and cycle networks in English big city regions.

Mr Sunak is also considering cutting the tax on beer from kegs and sparkling English wine to protect pubs and vineyards from the economic damage wrought by Covid, and imposing a residential property developer tax to pay for the removal of flammable cladding from high-rise buildings. 

The Chancellor is also planning to help ‘level up’ the country by spending £6.9 billion on improving rail, tram, bus and cycle networks in English big city regions (file image)

The levy would be paid by housebuilders with profits of more than £25 million who hoard land.

Mr Sunak is also expected to announce £3 billion of investment in education, including the quadrupling of places on skills bootcamps and more classroom hours for up to 100,000 16- to 19-year-olds studying ‘T levels’.

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss hires an ‘Instagram guru’ to project her image on social media – and combat the slick online efforts of rival Rishi Sunak 

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss is recruiting an ‘Instagram guru’ to project her image on social media – and combat the slick online efforts of leadership rival Rishi Sunak.

Ms Truss, who is already an enthusiastic poster of personal photos on the picture- and video-sharing app, has asked for permission from No 10 to add a ‘digital media special adviser’ to her team.

Mr Sunak is the only other Minister to employ an image expert.

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss is recruiting an ‘Instagram guru’ to project her image on social media – and combat the slick online efforts of leadership rival Rishi Sunak

Cass Horowitz, co-founder of The Clerkenwell Brothers, a creative studio specialising in ‘strategy, identity, advertising and social’, has been credited with overhauling the Chancellor’s digital profile and establishing the ‘dishy Rishi’ brand.

Mr Horowitz, the son of author Anthony Horowitz, has replaced grainy head-and-shoulders shots with stylised photoshoots, glossy infographics, and Hollywood-style videos, such as the recent film of the Chancellor hailing the success of the furlough scheme, which was set to a dramatic orchestral score. 

Non-traditional media outlets such as Glamour magazine and the LadBible website have also been chosen for interviews.

It comes against a backdrop of unsubtle jockeying for the role of Boris Johnson’s heir apparent.

The promotion of Ms Truss to Foreign Secretary in the recent reshuffle has cemented her status as the Tory members’ favourite to succeed Mr Johnson as party leader. 

Her Instagram offerings range from Thatcher-esque images of her bestriding the world stage to pictures of cakes she has baked.

The Chancellor slipped from second place to fifth in the latest monthly poll of members by the website ConservativeHome.

Mr Sunak is still the preferred choice of the wider electorate, but it is Tory members who will ultimately decide his destiny.

High taxing Chancellor Rishi Sunak will send UK economy crashing onto the rocks, writes former Brexit secretary DAVID DAVIS 

By David Davis Former Brexit Secretary for The Mail on Sunday

When Rishi Sunak delivers his Autumn Budget this week, he will do so with the country facing its worst winter crisis for more than 40 years. 

Rising fuel prices, tens of billions of pounds of tax increases, inflationary pressures and an environmental activist agenda for net zero are fuelling a cost of living crisis for ordinary families.

The ears of the nation will be hanging on the Chancellor’s every word to see how he proposes to avoid the impending storm. After all, the Chancellor claims to be a Thatcherite.

I knew Margaret Thatcher, so I will watch with interest whether he can match the brilliance that Thatcher, and her great Chancellor Nigel Lawson brought to government.

DAVID DAVIS: Rising fuel prices, tens of billions of pounds of tax increases, inflationary pressures and an environmental activist agenda for net zero are fuelling a cost of living crisis for ordinary families

Sadly, every indication so far is that his current course will take us on to the rocks – not away from them.

I fear Rishi will do so by making a most un-Thatcherite choice to persevere with raising taxes as the solution to ballooning Government debt.

After all, increases in National Insurance and Corporation Tax next year have already been announced.

Unless he changes course at the very last moment, the Chancellor will risk stoking a cost of living crisis that will ensure his legacy is more akin to Denis Healey’s Winter of Discontent than the Thatcherite Lawson boom.

No one disagrees that the enormous scale of post-pandemic Government debt requires radical action.

Driven by more than £400 billion of Covid borrowings, we have borrowed on a scale not seen since after each world war.

But raising taxes is not the answer. The tax burden is already at a level not seen since the 1940s. Increasing that burden will simply inflict more damage on the economy and lead to lower tax receipts.

NO, the way to deal with such debt levels is to do exactly what we did after the war – issue the modern-day equivalent of ‘war bonds’, to be repaid over 50 years or more.

Of course, we should have done this already, before inflation and interest rate expectations started to rise.

Once we have dealt with the debt, we can set about balancing the books, but by tax cuts – not tax increases. Taxes are harmful to the economy. 

Together, high taxes and high inflation create a growing spectre that threatens our post-pandemic recovery.

DAVID DAVIS: I knew Margaret Thatcher, so I will watch with interest whether he can match the brilliance that Thatcher, and her great Chancellor Nigel Lawson brought to government

The worst, however, is yet to come. The Bank predicts that inflation could rise above five per cent by early next year.

Andrew Bailey, the Governor of the Bank of England, recently said the central bank ‘will have to act’ to tackle inflationary pressure, which almost inevitably means interest rates rising. 

Raising the Bank’s base rate from its historic low of 0.1 per cent will have dramatic and tangible impacts. 

The Chancellor estimates that a one percentage point rise will cost the Treasury £25 billion annually – double the cost of the new Social Care Levy.

But it is not just our vital infrastructure that will be squeezed by inflation and interest rate rises. Millions of working people are already feeling pressured by rising costs.

Ronald Reagan, Thatcher’s ideological soulmate, described inflation as ‘not just high prices; it’s a reduction in the value of our money’. Inflation is a hidden tax.

With people paying more for food, more for fuel, and more for their bills, they have less money to spend elsewhere, slowing economic growth more broadly.

This problem is amplified by the Government’s disastrous decision to freeze the income tax personal allowance rate until 2026, which will only make the poorest worse off.

Compounding all this is the decision to break with the Tory manifesto pledge and increase National Insurance by 1.25 percentage points to fund the Government’s social care reforms. 

This is the worst of all worlds as it fails to fix the entrenched problems with the social care sector, while simultaneously sapping £12 billion from the economy annually.

The Chancellor is also wrong to believe in paying for the Covid bill by raising Corporation Tax rates from 19 to 25 per cent.

We should incentivise businesses to thrive, not stifle them with eye-watering tax levels that have reached 36 per cent of national output.

If we want higher wages, we need higher productivity, which in turn means higher investment. Corporation tax increases will lead to less investment, not more. 

Without creating a dynamic and business-friendly economy, we cannot attract companies creating the jobs of the future or capitalise on the benefits Brexit brings.

Collectively, these naive and economically ineffective policies have political consequences – not least for the Chancellor.

His favourability rating has collapsed from 52 per cent in April last year to 31 per cent today. Opposition to the National Insurance rise is growing: from 43 to 48 per cent.

Sadly this Treasury all too often reaches for expedient decisions – prioritising short-term issues over long-term stability.

The choice to fund the Social Care Levy through National Insurance rather than income tax was a typical example of the Government choosing what is easy rather than what is right.

The Institute for Fiscal Studies warned that health spending would balloon ‘from 27 per cent of day-to-day public expenditure in 1999-2000 to a projected 44 per cent by 2024-25’.

Frankly, the Treasury is too cautious and too concerned with image over substance.

The Chancellor should be governing by conservative principles rather than opinion polls.

On Wednesday he faces a choice: to pursue the politics of the 1970s through a high-tax, low-growth economy that seeks to repay the Covid debt quickly; or the politics of low-tax, high-growth that takes a long-view and allows economic freedom.

Even now, at the 11th hour, I urge him not to shy away from the challenge but to embrace it.

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