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Rebuttal of some of Brown and Clegg's claims during the TV debate

Here are some of the claims made by Brown and Clegg, along with their rebuttal:

Gordon Brown claims he has promised to increase police spending every year:

"I'm afraid the Conservatives are not prepared to guarantee, as we are prepared to do, that we will continue to fund the police force and the spending on police will continue to rise so that we have enough police there on the beat for you."

 But Labour's pledge is actually that police numbers will be maintained, not that police funding will rise:

“Budget 2010 confirms that spending on frontline schools and NHS, 16 to 19 education and Sure Start will be protected in the years to 2012-13, with sufficient funding provided to maintain police officer numbers.” (Budget 2010, p. 7)

“sufficient funding will be available to enable Police Authorities to maintain the current number of warranted Police Officers, Police Community Support Officers and other staff exercising police powers; “(Budget 2010, p. 89)
 On policing, Brown said:

“Police have to spend 80 per cent of their time now on the streets.”

The Advertising Standards Agency ruled illegal the Home Office advertisement that claimed: “You can now expect your neighbourhood police to spend at least 80 per cent of their time on the beat in your area” (The Guardian, 26 March 2010).

He added:

“The one thing I'm absolutely sure of, we have to maintain the number of police we have in this country.”

Police officer numbers are already being cut by Labour.  Thirteen police forces have cut police officer numbers in the last five years (Home Affairs Select Committee, Police Service Strength, Fifth report of Session 2009-10, 19 January 2010).  A leaked report for the Home Office, co-written by Mark Rowley, the Chief Constable of Surrey, has raised the prospect of 28,000 police officers being replaced by civilian workers to save money (The Daily Telegraph, 11 March 2010).  And just four out of the 43 police forces in England and Wales say they plan to maintain current staffing levels (Home Affairs Select Committee, Police Service Strength, January 2010, Appendix A).

On prisons, Brown said:

“There are 20,000 more people in prison, as a result of the tougher sentences we have been passing.”

Under Gordon Brown, over 80,000 prisoners have been released early, including over 16,000 violent prisoners (Ministry of Justice, End of Custody Licence Releases and Recalls, February 2010, table 1)

On care, Brown said:

“To help people live at home, to give them the urgent care needs that they have and see them met, for example by home helps and health visitors so that people who want to stay at home don't have to go into institutional care.”

The number of health visitors has been cut by 18 per cent since 2004 – which means almost 2,500 fewer staff (NHS workforce statistics, 25 March 2010). 29 per cent of health visitors report that caseloads are so large that they are losing track of vulnerable families (Amicus, Survey of Health Visitors, 2007).

Nick Clegg said the Lib Dems have found £15 billion of savings.

Actually their manifesto only identifies £10.7 billion of net savings. And because their numbers don't add up their plans would actually increase borrowing by £900 million.

Clegg said:

‘But let's not get object successed about mythical savings in waste which is the oldest trick in the book, or get object successed about when we deliver these cuts.  The crucial thing is are we going to be open with people, with you about how we're going to save money in the long term’.

Fact: The Lib Dems’ manifesto made big promises about cutting waste in the NHS: ‘So our first priority is to increase spending in some parts of the NHS by cutting waste in others. We have identified specific savings that can be made in  management costs, bureaucracy and quangos, and we will reinvest that money back into the health care you need’ (p.40).