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Spring Statement: Philip Hammond 'to unveil £100m knife crime package' after row with Sajid Javid

Spring Statement: Philip Hammond 'to unveil £100m knife crime package' after row with Sajid Javid
3 min read

Chancellor Philip Hammond is set to unveil a £100m package to tackle a surge in knife crime after a major Cabinet row over police funding.


The Sun reports that the Treasury will use today's Spring Statement to bow to demands from Home Secretary Sajid Javid for extra cash following a spate of attacks on Britain's streets.

The money is set to bolster violent crime units in the seven UK cities most affected by knife crime.

According to the paper, Mr Javid had initially demanded £300m in funding to be spent over the next three years, with talks between the Treasury and the Home Office continuing just hours before Mr Hammond unveils the Govenrment's fiscal forecasts on Wednesday.

Around £80m of the additional cash is new money from the Treasury, The Sun reports, while the remaining £20m will come from existing Home Office budgets.

The latest official figures show that there were 42,957 knife offences recorded in England and Wales 2017/18 - a 31% rise on the previous year.

The number of knife-related homicides also soared to 285 in 2017-18 - the highest recorded figure since 1946.

The extra Treasury funding comes after Mr Javid defied Theresa May to publicly back demands from police chiefs for more funding.

"Police resources are very important to deal with this," he said.

"We’ve got to do everything we can. I’m absolutely committed to working with police in doing this."

The Home Secretary's intervention followed the Prime Minister's insistence that there was "no direct correlation" between rising crime and budget cuts.

TECH CLAMPDOWN

Mr Hammond will meanwhile use Wednesday's Spring Statement to signal his backing for efforts to rein in big tech companies.

The Chancellor will welcome a Treasury-commissioned independent review carried out by Barack Obama’s chief economic adviser which urges stiffer competition for firms including Facebook, Google and Apple.

The study calls for a new expert digital markets team to be set up in Whitehall to help oversee the industry and tighten up government policy on mergers and data use.

"Over the last 10 years the five largest firms have made over 400 acquisitions globally," the review says.

"None has been blocked and very few have had conditions attached to approval, in the UK or elsewhere, or even been scrutinised by competition authorities.

“Ensuring that competition is vibrant requires ensuring that there are competitors. Merger control has long had this role and in the context of the digital economy it needs to become more active with an approach that is more forward-looking and more focused on innovation and the overall economic impact of mergers.”

Mr Hammond said: "The UK leads the world in embracing technology and the opportunities it delivers for people.

"Competition is fundamental to ensuring the market works in the interest of consumers, but we know some tech giants are still accumulating too much power, preventing smaller businesses from entering the market."

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