Jeremy Corbyn vows to block £3bn of Tory 'tax breaks for the rich' and use cash for new police

Joe Watts
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is to make the police numbers pledge on Tuesday: Getty

Jeremy Corbyn will pledge to block almost £3bn of planned “tax breaks for the rich” in order to pay for 10,000 new community police officers in England and Wales.

The Labour leader believes money saved from scrapping a Conservative plan to lower capital gains tax will easily cover the cost of his pledge and enable him to guarantee current funding levels for 43 police forces.

Writing exclusively for The Independent, shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott accused the Conservatives of having failed people from less well-off, ethnic and other minority backgrounds who are more likely to fall victim to crime, claiming “few of us live in gated communities with their own private security firms”.

Mr Corbyn will claim the move to put a beat bobby in “every electoral ward” is needed due to recent rises in some types of crime and deep cuts to police funding which have seen officer numbers drop 20,000 under Conservative administrations.

He planned to say: “Cutting police numbers especially when there is more crime to deal with is unacceptable.

“That’s why Labour will put 10,000 new police officers on our streets. The safety of our communities is vital to us all.

“Community policing means uniformed officers being visible, local and accessible. They engage with the public, have a detailed local knowledge and build a network of relationships.”

In the 2016 Budget it was announced that the higher rate of capital gains tax will be cut from 28 per cent to 20 per cent and the basic rate from 18 per cent to 10 per cent, costing the public purse £2.75bn over the next five years.

Recent data from the Office for National Statistics suggested that in the year ending 2016 there were “genuine increases” in some “high harm category” offences, including knife crime and homicide, while Home Office data shows the number of police officers plummeting from around 142,000 in 2010 to 122,000 last year.

Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott said: “Labour will reverse the Tories’ tax breaks for the rich, providing new money that can be used to put a bobby on the beat in every electoral ward in the country.”

In her article for The Independent, she went on: “Crime affects all of us. But very few of us live in gated communities with their own private security firms.

“It is ordinary people who suffer most from crime, and women, people from ethnic minorities, religious communities and the LGBT community who are all more likely to be victims of crime. On this, as with its entire policy, Labour stands for the many, not the few.”

A Conservative spokesperson responded: “This is just another nonsensical Jeremy Corbyn idea which he can’t pay for because his sums don’t add up and he’s already spent the money for it three other ways.

“Jeremy Corbyn promises all sorts of things, but we all know he can’t deliver. He and his supporters want to take away the powers the police need to keep us safe, and his coalition of chaos would undermine the Brexit negotiations. That would put the growing economy that funds the police at grave risk.

“Under Theresa May, the police have cut traditionally-measured crime by a third, and with her strong and stable leadership we will be able to make communities even safer.”

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