The impact of the Tory-led Government’s political choices is now becoming much clearer for London; put simply fewer jobs and less police. Both are areas I know people in Harrow will be deeply concerned about in the months and years ahead.

When Labour left office there were record numbers of police officers on the streets – with nearly 17,000 more than in 1997 as well as 16,000 PCSO’s. This had contributed to a reduction in crime of 43% under Labour. Neighbourhood policing was revived with dedicated teams in every part of Harrow. In the election Labour pledged to protect the numbers of police officers because we know communities value the local bobby on the beat.

However, the Tory-led Government has taken a different course. The Metropolitan Police are on track to lose 1000 police officer posts by March of this year, according to a report by the London Assembly’s Budget and Performance Committee. Unfortunately in Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, we do not have somebody who will stand up for the police having signed off a cut 455 officers early last year.

The Tory-led Government is cutting the policing budget by 20% which will make matters even worse. The sheer speed and severity of these cuts is leaving forces up and down the Country with no time to plan responsible savings. The Police Federation, the body representing police officers, has said that as a result of Government cuts there could be a loss of some 20,000 officers over the next four years.

Also I know that people are understandably worried about jobs. If you are in work you are concerned about staying in work, if you’re not then finding a job is becoming increasingly more difficult.

A Centre for Cities report last month shows that London is likely to bear the brunt in terms of jobs losses in the public sector – about 53,000. It also argues, as have others, that this will have a big impact on jobs in the private sector.

London is both a driver of this country’s growth and a place where people live, the severity of the Tory-led Government’s cuts threatens both Britain’s economic future and the strength of our local communities.

On both these issues I will be campaigning hard: whether by standing up for frontline policing or working with Harrow’s Labour Council to plan for growth, jobs and future investment in Harrow.

Ultimately though, a Government has to take responsibility for the course it chooses. Whether in terms of fewer jobs in the market place and a lack of a coherent strategy for economic growth or less police on the streets Harrow is starting to see the real consequences of the Tory-led Government’s cuts.

Gareth Thomas MP, Harrow West

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