Rt Hon Lord Lilley

    Mr Peter Lilley (Hitchin and Harpenden) (Con): Does my right hon. Friend accept that the problems addressed by his statement and those that will be addressed by the subsequent statement from the Chancellor have one factor in common: a widespread belief that anyone can have anything they want without paying for it and without living within their means? Will my right hon. Friend therefore resist the siren calls to give up his plans to make all departments, including the police, live within our means, especially as every police officer whom I know and to whom I have spoken says that they could dramatically increase the proportion of their time used effectively to the public good if they were deployed more efficiently? It cannot be beyond the wit of man to live within those budgets and improve good policing with 6% less resources.

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    The Prime Minister: My right hon. Friend makes a very powerful point. I made a point of sitting down with my own chief constable in my constituency surgery and going through her budget line by line, to see the changes that were being made so that savings could be made but visible policing would not be affected. With a 6% cash reduction, it can be done.