Press release

Home Office's settlement at the Spending Review 2015

The Chancellor has published the results of the spending review, including details of the Home Office’s budget over the course of this parliament.


The Chancellor has published the results of the Spending Review, including details of the Home Office’s budget over the course of this Parliament.

The Spending Review and Autumn Statement delivers on the government’s priority to provide security to working people at every stage of their lives. It sets out a 4 year plan to fix the public finances, return the country to surplus and run a healthy economy that starts to pay down the debt. By ensuring Britain’s long term economic security, the government is able to spend £4 trillion on its priorities over the next 4 years.

For the Home Office this means:

  • overall police spending protected in real terms over the Spending Review period to enable the police to continue to adapt to emerging crime threats, and to train more firearms officers, while taking further steps to improve efficiency
  • £500 million increased funding for the counter terrorism budget, to protect the UK from the ongoing threat posed by terrorism
  • over £1.3 billion of capital investment to 2019-20, to deliver state-of-the-art security at the border, a streamlined core department, and an additional £1 billion to overhaul the emergency services network
  • resource savings of 5% by 2019-20 through a fully self-funded borders and immigration system and total reductions of 30% in the department’s administration budget compared to 2015-16
Home Office
£ billion
Baseline Plans
2015-16 2016-17 2017-18 2018-19 2019-20 2020-21 (2)
Resource DEL (1) 10.3 10.7 10.6 10.6 10.6 *
Capital DEL 0.4 0.5 0.5 0.4 0.4 0.4
Total DEL 10.7 11.2 11.1 11.0 11.0 *
  1. In this table, Resource DEL excludes depreciation.
  2. 2020-21 Resource DEL departmental budgets have only been set for some departments. For the rest, these budgets will be set in full at the next Spending Review.


The government will protect overall police spending in real terms over the Spending Review period, an increase of £900 million cash by 2019-20. This provides funding to maintain overall police force budgets at current cash levels. The government will allocate additional transformation funding to those forces which have strong proposals to support efficiency and reform and to help transition to new funding arrangements in future. This funding will also allow forces to train more firearms officers to ensure the country extends its capability to protect its citizens from terrorist threats.

The government will also protect the National Crime Agency’s budget as it leads UK law enforcement’s fight to cut serious and organised crime. In addition, the government will provide new capital investment of over £200 million to transform the National Crime Agency into a world-leading law enforcement agency, with new digital and investigative capability to tackle cyber crime, child exploitation and the distribution of criminal finances.

The government will also invest £500 million in counter terrorism funding to increase the capability of the police to pursue terrorists, counter poisonous ideologies at home, and ensure that the UK is properly prepared in the event of an attack. Additional capability includes a new National Digital Exploitation Service, upgraded borders intelligence systems, enhanced intelligence coverage in prisons, improved ability to share biometrics data with the UK’s counter-terrorism partners overseas, and increased aviation security both at UK and international airports.

Over £460 million of the overseas aid budget will be used by 2019-20 to resettle up to 20,000 of the most vulnerable Syrian refugees, covering the full first year costs to ease the burden on local communities. The government will provide around a further £130 million by 2019-20 to local authorities to contribute to the costs of supporting refugees beyond their first year in the UK.

Efficiency and reform

The government will invest nearly £1 billion in new mobile digital technology through the Emergency Services Mobile Communications Programme. The enhanced network will enable officers to access key police databases, take mobile fingerprints and electronic witness statements and stream live body-worn video – all while on the move. The new network will cut costs for the taxpayer (saving £1 million per day when fully operational), free up police officers’ capacity, and connect all emergency services on the same broadband network for the first time.

The government will support police forces to adopt a more collaborative approach to purchasing common items on a regional or national level, such as police uniforms and vehicles, to secure a better deal through economies of scale forecast to save £350 million over the Parliament.

Around £600 million of overall border, immigration and citizenship system costs are currently funded by the Exchequer (in addition to customs and asylum support costs). By investing in streamlined and automated processes, saving time for immigration officials and border officers, this funding requirement will be more than halved. For example, the government will invest over £250 million to enable passports and visas to be processed online. The remainder will be funded through targeted visa fee increases, which will remove the burden on the UK taxpayer while ensuring the UK remains a competitive place for work, travel and study internationally. At the same time, new investments such as £130 million more for automated passport E-gates, watch-list and intelligence technology, will tighten security while keeping queuing times to a minimum. Spending on maritime security will be protected, maintaining the UK’s strong defences against dangerous goods.

HO will continue to drive down overall administration costs, with a 30% reduction equating to over £100 million of departmental savings by 2019-20.


The government will offer PCCs greater flexibility in their local funding decisions by rewarding areas which have historically kept council tax low, working with police leaders to ensure the police have the necessary powers to maximise workforce flexibility and capability.

Home Secretary, Theresa May, said:

The first duty of government is to keep the public safe and secure and that is exactly what this settlement does.

Over the next four years, we will increase the counter-terrorism budget by £500 million and invest £130 million in state of the art technology at the border. A further £250 million investment will be used to transform the immigration system by making passports applications digital, streamlining the visa process and to better identify those who are here illegally.

The Chancellor and I have agreed a fair deal for the police. This settlement gives Chief Constables and Police and Crime Commissioners immediate certainty that police spending will be protected in real terms over the Spending Review period, when local precept income is taken into account.

This includes extra investment to continue the job of police reform we started in the last Parliament. We will invest £1 billion to link up the emergency services and provide new funding to drive closer collaboration between police forces on specialist capabilities like firearms, cyber crime and child sexual exploitation. The public should be reassured that the police will have the resources they need to respond to new threats rapidly and effectively to keep people safe.

Police reform is working and crime has fallen by more than a quarter since 2010 – to the lowest level ever recorded – even as budgets reduced by a fifth. There can be no doubt that, with continued reform, the police can drive more efficiency, a better service, and even less crime over the next five years.

Published 25 November 2015