The other week I was contacted by a local GP who was concerned there was a 10 hour waiting time at Accident and Emergency at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary.
Later in the week this rose to 13 hours. Local NHS workers are working as hard as they can and doing a good job, but they tell me they don’t have enough staff or resources to meet demand. I am continuing to raise the lack of support for the NHS with government ministers because without resources the system will not survive.
Back in November we forced the U-turn on extreme cuts of over 20 per cent to the police budget, but now they are at it again, sneaking in further cuts to police forces, and expecting local people to pay more to make up the difference.
Our police force in Lancashire is set to see further funding cuts of £4.3m with the Government expecting local people to pay more to make up for it. Last week in Parliament we forced a vote calling on the Government to honour their commitment to give police force budgets real-terms protection. The Government are breaking their promise to protect the police, but we will fight the police cuts and stand up for communities.
That’s why our Police and Crime Clive Grunshaw is prioritising neighbourhood policing - keeping ‘Bobbies on the beat’, reducing crime and keeping our communities safe. In Lancashire, the police have lost 706 police officers in the past five years, a reduction of 19 per cent. We have also lost 117 Police and Community Support Officers, down by 23 per cent. Under this Government’s plans, thousands more will be axed. They can no longer claim they cut police but cut crime. Crime is not falling, crime is changing and, when 6m cyber and online crimes are included in the official crime statistics, crime will near double. With the most serious and violent crimes on the rise again, in Lancashire recorded violent crime has increased by 10 per cent, and sexual assault has gone up by 22 per cent, this is the worst possible time to cut the police, but that is what the Government is doing.
By failing to protect the police, the Government are putting the country’s security at risk and threatening community safety.