Labour MP Bill Esterson determined Merseyside Police doesn't foo

Bill Esterson


Sefton Central Labour MP Bill Esterson said he is determined to ensure that Merseyside Police doesn't end up footing the bill for the Tory-Lib Dem Government's shambolic handling of the plans to cull thousands of badgers.

The Tories and Lib Dems were controversially planning to launch a cull of badgers in an attempt to curb the rise of bovine tuberculosis (TB).

But in the latest embarrassing u-turn, the government announced that the cull would be postponed until next summer.

Bill Esterson said the affair had put even more strain on our under pressure police forces who had already taken steps to police the cull which was set to cost each force half-a-million-pound per year.

Quizzing Secretary of State for Environment Food and Rural Affairs Owen Paterson MP in Parliament this week, Bill Esterson asked the government Minister: "How much compensation will be paid to police forces, as the Secretary of State has just announced?"

Speaking afterwards, Bill said: "This is another shambles which this Tory-Lib Dem Government has presided over.

"Despite repeated warnings from Labour MPs, the Tories and Lib Dems ploughed on with this expensive and flawed policy.

"The cull would cost farmers more than it saved them, put huge strain on the police and spread bovine TB in the short term as badgers move out of cull areas. 

"It would cost half a million pounds a year to police per area, and all for a 16% reduction in bovine TB over nine years. Bovine TB is a terrible disease for farmers, their families and their communities, but all along, we agreed with the experts that a cull was not going to be the answer.

"The Tories and Lib Dems were going into this cull without all of the information. They didn't know how many badgers were in each area, so they didn't know how many they were going to kill.

"A lot of money has been spent on this. A lot of money has been wasted.

"Steps were taken by already hard pressed police forces up and down the company. We need to know if they will get that money back, or will the cost be borne by yet more cuts to frontline policing?"

Bill said the force in Merseyside cannot afford to lose any more of its funding.

Bill said: "Merseyside Police has lost 20% of its funding because of the Tory-Lib Dem cuts. The impact on this force is even greater than most because of the way the funding for forces is allocated.

"Our force cannot cope with any more losses, so the money that forces have wasted because of this shambolic policy will be damaging for policing throughout the country.

"Labour has always said that the badger cull was bad for taxpayers, bad for farmers, and bad for wildlife. This Government is out of touch with the nation. This cull should have been stopped months ago. 

"The incompetence of this Tory-Lib Dem government has again cost the tax payer. But this is a disaster of their own making and our police shouldn't have to carry the cost."

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