The Ministry of Justice will be investing an additional £52 million to tackle prison violence, improve the prisons and courts estate and boost the operational capacity of the Parole Board this year after the Chancellor provided further funds for the department in yesterday’s Budget.
The Treasury will also fund the cost of building a new prison at Glen Parva in Leicestershire. This significant investment will allow us to get started on construction sooner since planning permission was granted in the summer.
The new Glen Parva will accommodate around 1,680 prisoners which, along with an equivalently-sized new prison at Wellingborough in Northamptonshire, is an important step towards delivering on our commitment to building up to 10,000 decent new prison places.
An extra £30 million will be spent on prisons this financial year on top of the £40 million we announced over the summer. The money will go towards further improvements to safety, security and decency on top of those already announced such as the roll-out of body scanners and phone-blocking technology.
There is also a further £15 million to spend this year on the maintenance and security of our court buildings. Spending more this year in our courts will ensure that our ageing estate remains fit for the 21st century as we invest £1 billion in modernising services and moving more online making them easier to use, more efficient and saving taxpayers’ money.
Another £6.5 million will be invested across the wider justice system, including a further £1.5 million for the Parole Board to boost its operational capacity.
Commenting on the Budget, the Secretary of State for Justice David Gauke said:
I am pleased that the Treasury has given us this extra £52 million which will help address the acute problems facing our prisons and begin to improve the conditions of some of our courts. We have also secured a cash boost for the Parole Board to support its operations, especially the extra work associated with our transparency reforms.
This budget means that since July, we are directing an additional £70 million to tackling drugs and violence, and improving the basic conditions of our prisons. Treasury’s commitment to funding a new prison at Glen Parva is an important step to getting this built as soon as possible and will ease the pressure on our prisons.
The Budget also committed to funding a review by the Law Commission into simplifying the rules around marriage ceremonies in England and Wales and propose options for a simpler and fairer system to give couples greater choice and reduce prices in a notoriously expensive market. It will look at reducing unnecessary red tape supporting small and medium-sized businesses in the hospitality sector, like hotels and pubs, to host weddings and boost their income.
- The Treasury have committed to providing the capital funding to build the new prison at Glen Parva. While we cannot comment at this stage on the anticipated cost, the newest prison in the estate, HMP Berwyn in North Wales, cost £250 million when it was built in 2015/16.
- The Ministry’s Spending Review 2015 settlement set the department on a course to reduce spend by 11% between 2015/16 and 2019/20. The figures on the Ministry of Justice from yesterday’s announcement of next year’s settlement are not new.
- We are continuing to engage with HM Treasury on ensuring that the justice system has sufficient funding in both the short and medium term, ahead of the Spending Review in 2019. The department continues to work to ensure that the department’s finances are set on a long term sustainable footing.