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Welsh police forces braced for major budget cuts

34 UK police forces intend to increase the part of council tax which goes to policing over the next year to lessen the impact Credit: PA

Every police force in Wales and England is getting ready for major budget cuts in the next five years, it's been reported.

According to an investigation by the BBC forces face a 5% cut in government funding in 2015/16.

After 2016 they are expecting austerity measures amounting to hundreds of millions of pounds, although the exact level of savings will depend on the outcome of the general election.

It's thought some forces are planning to bring down the number of officers to allow them to operate on smaller budgets.

It comes after a reduction of 20% since 2011 in the amount spent on police by the Home Office.

Home Secretary Theresa May has suggested savings might be made by integrating the three emergency services - police, fire and ambulance.

Police reform is working and crime has fallen by more than a fifth under this Government, according to the Independent Crime Survey for England and Wales.

While we acknowledge that the police funding settlement is challenging, there is no question that the police will still have the resources to do their important work.

What matters is how officers are deployed, not how many of them there are in total.

– Home Office spokeswoman

Natural Resources Minister seeks 'Big Six' talks

Natural Resources Minister Carl Sargeant has written to the UK’s “Big Six” energy firms, along with the Co-operative Energy and First Utility, asking them to meet him to discuss how they can work more effectively with the Welsh Government to tackle fuel poverty.

30% of Welsh households 'are in fuel poverty' Credit: Yui Mok/PA Wire

The Welsh Government says almost a third of households in Wales are in fuel poverty.

"In Wales we have been successful in delivering multiple benefits through our energy efficiency programmes, such as Arbed, including jobs, wider community benefits, training and advice for residents.

Our additional investment for the next financial year is £35m. I want the energy companies to see how effective our approach in Wales is and discuss how working together we can maximise the amount.. they invest in these schemes in Wales."

– Carl Sargeant, Natural Resources Minister

Council Tax rise for Denbighshire

Credit: Joe Giddens/PA Wire

Denbighshire County Council has confirmed its budget for the 2015/16 financial year, meaning that council tax bills will increase by 3.09% in total.

This means that the average council tax bill for a Band D property will be £1,422.40, compared with £1,379.73 in 2014/5.

We have tried to keep council tax increases as low as possible, as Denbighshire residents tell us regularly that is what they would like to see happen.

We have set and agreed this budget at a time of severe financial constraints, with protection for education, substantially protecting funding levels to social services and putting additional funding in to the corporate plan.

This budget is set at a time of unprecedented change for the organisation. However, we are pleased that we have been able to agree a budget that sets clearly how we are going to manage our finances over the next 12 months.

– Councillor Julian Thompson-Hill, Cabinet Lead Member for Finance
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