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PM announces £72 million to fund security for Jewish communities

PM announces £72 million to fund security for Jewish communities

Jewish schools, synagogues and other community centres are to be given a £72 million security package, Rishi Sunak has announced.

In a bid to tackle the “utterly sickening” rise in antisemitism seen in recent months, the Prime Minister announced the funding which will provided security guards, CCTV and alarm systems at Jewish community sites.

The Home Office has said the announcement is made of £54 million of new funding for the Community Security Trust (CST) to provide the security measures until 2028 in addition to £18 million previously allocated to the charity for the period of 2024-2025.

Speaking at the CST’s annual dinner on Wednesday, Mr Sunak said that the rise in racist attacks meant that “the whole fabric of our nation is under threat”.

He said: “It is shocking, and wrong, the prejudice, the racism we have seen in recent months.

“That Hamas attack of October 7 was the most abhorrent act of terrorism against Israel that any of us have ever known.

“And it’s been followed by record levels of antisemitism in this country that are utterly, utterly sickening.

“It is hatred, pure and simple.

“An assault on the Jewish people.

“We will fight this antisemitism with everything we’ve got.

“As Prime Minister I will lead this Government in a long-term effort to strengthen your security, defend our liberal democratic values and change our culture so we tackle the root causes of this hatred.

“We know CST is going to be needed for many years to come.

“So tonight, I am changing the way CST is funded to help you plan for the long-term with the biggest financial commitment that any government has ever made.”

The CST is a British charity which provides security and advice to the Jewish community in the UK.

Home Secretary James Cleverly said: “The rise in antisemitic hatred and abuse we have seen in the UK in recent months is absolutely sickening.

“It is crucial that Jewish adults and children are free to go about their daily lives without fear of intimidation, abuse or harm – and importantly, feel safe to do so.

“Committing this largest ever funding for security to protect Jewish communities will give people the certainty and confidence they will be kept safer for the foreseeable future.

“We are also working with the police to ensure that hate crime and expressions of support for the terrorist organisation Hamas are met with the full force of the law.”

Tom Tugendhat
Minister of State for Security Tom Tugendhat (Lucy North/PA)

Security Minister Tom Tugendhat said: “Since the October 7 attacks, we’ve seen a shameful rise in antisemitism across the world, including in the UK.

“We won’t hesitate to take action to keep British Jews safe.

“That’s why today’s package of support is the largest ever made by the government to tackle antisemitism, and to ensure their protection and safety.”

A recent report from CST showed the organisation recorded 4,103 antisemitic incidents in the UK in 2023, the highest total ever reported to CST in a single calendar year and an increase of 147% compared to 2022.

The figures spiked after the start of the Israel-Hamas conflict with1,330 incidents being reported to CST in October 2023, more than the three previous highest monthly totals combined.

The Government provided an additional £3 million to the CST to provide additional security in October 2023, raising the funding to £18 million a year.

The additional £3 million has been used to offer additional support to more than 480 Jewish community locations, including schools and synagogues enabling nearly 200 schools and more than 250 synagogues to hire more security guards and increase protection.

The Government also announced £31 million in funding to protect democratic processes and institutions in response to growing threats.

Mr Sunak said: “I’m not prepared to stand by, and watch MPs forced out of public service because of fears for their safety.

“Nor I am prepared to allow this pattern of increasingly violent and intimidatory behaviour, seemingly intended to shout down elected representatives and hijack the democratic process through force itself.

“It is as un-British as it is undemocratic and it cannot stand.”

He added: “We will never give in to the threats of violent extremists.

“We will not be cowed into changing the way our parliamentary democracy operates.

“We will do whatever it takes to defend our democratic processes.”

A Home Office spokesman said: “The Government also condemns the recent rise in reported anti-Muslim hatred.

“We expect the police to fully investigate all hate crimes and work with the CPS to make sure the cowards who commit these appalling offences feel the full force of the law.”

An additional £4.9 million was made available in October for protective security at mosques and Muslim faith schools.

This brought total funding for 2023-24 to £29.4 million, which the Government has confirmed will also be maintained in 2024-25.

The spokesman said: “The new Protective Security for Mosques Scheme provides physical security measures, such as CCTV, intruder alarms and secure perimeter fencing, to mosques and associated Muslim faith community centres.

“Protective security measures are also available to Muslim faith schools.”