Bungling Police Minister, Mike Penning, has got Labour to thank for saving his skin after the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement.
The Chancellor caved in to Labour pressure to protect police services and u-turned on Penning’s plan to reduce funding for local police forces by 25% taking 22,000 bobbies taken off the beat.
Penning told the Gazette that ‘police reform was working’ when police chiefs threatened to sue the Home Secretary. He was then forced to make a humiliating apology in the House of Commons after it turned out he’d got his figures wrong.
Labour forced other major policy reverses in the Autumn Statement which included dropping plans to cut working tax credits which would have impacted on 7,200 households in Hemel.
The scale of the u-turn came as a surprise, but after the smoke cleared it became apparent that the cuts had just been postponed and would still go ahead in 2020 when in work tax breaks are rolled into universal credit.
The Resolution Think Tank has pointed out that by the end of the decade a low earning couple with three children will lose £3,060.
Other measures announced by the Chancellor will hit us squarely in the pocket. Local council’s budgets are being slashed by 50% which could see council tax bills rise by 4% a year. School funding is being cut by £4.3billion and nurses will have to take out loans instead of getting a grant.
And for parents who work fewer than 16 hours a week you will no longer benefit for the free childcare for 3 and 4-year-olds.
So while Mr Osborne trumpets cash for the NHS, u-turns on policing and additional funding for defence, the devil as always is in the detail.
One thing for sure it’s Mike Penning that giving the biggest sigh of relief.