Lincolnshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner has warned that public sector services will “bear the brunt” of the current crisis around inflation amid expectations of a “tightening up of spending”.
PCC Mark Jones told the Lincolnshire Police and Crime Panel that budgeting would become “extremely difficult” if a potentially smaller funding pot was to come about.
This included difficulties around new officer numbers, where funding rules said the officer headcount can’t be reduced, but the belt was tightening.
According to the latest data from the Office for National Statistics, UK inflation – the rate at which prices rise – increased to 9.1% in the 12 months to May.
It is the highest level since March 1982 and the Bank of England has warned it will reach 11% this year.
On top of this. the country has been hit by massive increases in energy and fuel costs in the past few months.
“I don’t think anybody’s going to be immune, sadly, from the issue of inflation and public sector services are certainly going to have to bear the brunt, not least of which because I think it’s reasonable to assume that the government will obviously be affected,” said Marc Jones.
He added that there were further questions on top of the crisis around whether the public would be willing, or able, to support further council tax increases.
“We’re already facing savings targets anyway, if you throw into the mix inflation and on top of that any budget reductions it becomes exceedingly difficult.”
He added: “Discussions are ongoing, the data is being collated because it’s a challenge to know where it’s going to end up.”
“I’m very conscious that for the public sector [there is] a perfect storm of circumstances that will lead to service reductions, that all affect each other.
“If local government are unable to invest in community safety, then that leaves gaps which ultimately puts more pressure on policing, if there is equally less policing it puts more pressure on our partners.”
“It’s really important more than ever that we’re communicating as effectively as possible,” he added.