15:48 GMT +318 December 2018
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    Houses of Parliament, London

    UK Gov't Gifts Police More Cuts for Christmas, Tries to Bury Bad News

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    Britain's Chancellor George Osborne said he would protect the police from government spending cuts - especially after the terror attacks in Paris. Police chiefs heaved a sigh of relief, having expressed concern that more budget cuts would limit their ability to respond effectively in the event of a terrorist attack.

    "The police protect us so we will protect the police," Osborne announced in the House of Commons. 

    But buried by the barrage of media attention focused on the UK PM's efforts to reform Britain's membership within the European Union, was a statement from the Home Office stating that police forces are being cut by 2.3 percent.

    In a roundup of the bad news buried by the government on the last day of Parliament before Christmas, London newspaper The Independent cited the Home Office statement, revealing that government spending for Britain's 43 police forces is being cut by 2.3 percent — around $US61,2 million (£41m) a year.

    Downing Street responded to the accusation that it had tried to bury bad news and said: "This is a Government which has a very busy agenda and we're delivering on a large range of commitments."

    It's also a government that rejected the advice from leading children's charities experts to give children, who have been trafficked into England and Wales, sufficient help on the same day as the police budget cuts were revealed.

    It had been proposed that each victim of child trafficking would be assigned a guardian to act on their behalf — and this was initially enacted in the Modern Slavery Act 2015, following a campaign by charity, ECPAT UK.

    However, the government issued a statement on the last day of Parliament before Christmas, saying that more work must be done to test the model and that it would not yet enact the measure which had previously been secured in the Modern Slavery Act.

    Chloe Setter, Head of Advocacy, Policy & Campaigns, ECPAT UK, said: "This was an opportunity to commit to a system that has been shown to add value to existing child protection services and give added protection to children who have been exploited.

    "We will now remain in a situation where trafficked children in other parts of the UK will benefit from further protection than those in England and Wales, which is not acceptable or just."

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    Tags:
    session, media coverage, Police, budget cuts, personnel cuts, parliament, slavery, politics, trafficking, Christmas, House of Commons, George Osborne, David Cameron, United Kingdom
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