Labour pledges to 'rebuild safety on Britain's streets' - as Tories go on VAT attack

29 May 2024, 18:09 | Updated: 30 May 2024, 09:13

Labour will promise to "get police back out in the community" as they focus their campaigning on tackling crime.

Speaking on Thursday, shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper will reiterate the party's pledge to put 13,000 neighbourhood police officers and PCSOs "back on the beat in communities across the country", saying there will be "guaranteed neighbourhood patrols" to ensure their presence is visible to deter crime, as well as being able to catch criminals.

She will also vow to run a "hands-on Home Office" to regularly assess the department's progress against Labour's "missions" for government - which include cracking down on anti-social behaviour.

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Ms Cooper said: "On Rishi Sunak's watch, 90% of crimes are going unsolved and knife-wielding muggers, phone thieves and pickpockets can get away with menacing our town centres and neighbourhoods.

"Ministers have done nothing to tackle the new organised crime wave that is hitting local shops and streets. That is the Tory legacy on law and order, and our communities are paying the price.

"Enough is enough. Labour will rebuild safety on Britain's streets and take back our town centres from thugs and thieves, with 13,000 more neighbourhood police and PCSOs back on the beat in our communities, tough new powers to crackdown on those who cause havoc on our high streets, and a mission to reverse the collapse in the number of crimes being solved.

"Labour will put an end to Tory chaos and be a government of law and order, putting the safety and security of our communities at its heart and taking back our streets".

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But policing minister Chris Philp said the policy "isn't worth the paper it's written on", adding: "Only 3,000 of their proposed new officers would be full time officers with the power of arrest and 3,000 of them are officers this government has already recruited.

"Contrast that with the Conservatives who have recruited record police numbers with 20,000 more since 2019.

"The choice is clear in this election, stick with the bold action and clear plan under Rishi Sunak and the Conservatives that has driven crime down by 54% since 2010, or go back to square one with Labour."

On day eight of the election campaign, the Conservatives will go on the attack - aiming their punches at Labour's "chaotic" economic policy.

The Conservatives and Lib Dems have also ruled out raising VAT if they win the general election

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt told Sky News' Breakfast with Kay Burley: "A future Conservative government will not increase VAT, income tax or national insurance.

"In fact, we want to bring taxes down, and that is the main difference in all the fluff of an election campaign one of the biggest differences between the two parties is that Labour have no plans to bring down the tax burden."

He earlier accused his opposite number, Rachel Reeves, of "buckling under pressure" to rule out raising VAT in the next parliament, having "carefully and deliberately" avoided doing so all week - including in an interview with Sky News' Sam Coates.

After the minister wrote in the Telegraph that Labour would "raid" VAT to pay for its policies, Ms Reeves released a statement calling it "absolute nonsense", adding: "Labour will not be increasing income tax, national insurance, or VAT."

Mr Hunt then accused her of "flip-flopping" and saying what he believed was a change in policy "demonstrates that Labour don't have a plan for the economy".

Meanwhile, the SNP will appeal to young people out on the campaign trail on Thursday, with First Minister John Swinney saying "an entire generation has been robbed of opportunity" because of austerity, Brexit and the cost of living crisis.

And the Liberal Democrats will be calling for a mental health professional in every primary and secondary school, with party leader Sir Ed Davey claiming the Tories had "abandoned parents and children".