Every pound spent by Government has to be raised in taxes. When Government spends too much it has to borrow.  

Such borrowing leads to a higher tax burden for future generations of taxpayers and as such is unfair. Notwithstanding the cuts in expenditure to date, the Government continues to spend more than it collects.  

There is, therefore, a simple choice. When it comes to delivering public services we either cut spending or we increase taxation.

Which brings me to Essex Police. For the past four years I have been lobbied about the need to increase council tax to pay for the police.  It is a call I have resisted.  

It says everything that despite predictions of disaster, crime has fallen in the intervening period.

I congratulate Essex Police for rising to the challenge. There is no doubt that Essex Police can do things smarter.

In the last parliament I discovered it had taken the best part of £2million from the Home Office to spend on mobile phones which then sat in a cupboard in Chelmsford, because they were not compatible with the computer systems.

Against this background, I support Essex Police’s plans to rationalise the police estate.  

People do not attend police stations to report crimes any more. Some buildings are not fit for purpose and with police spending ever more time outside stations there is room for change.  

The £2million savings on maintenance will pay for 40 police officers.

But – and this is a big but – I don't want all the money to disappear into a nice, new, sparkly HQ.   It is important the leadership make sure sufficient resources are focused on delivery on the front line.  

And we must make sure those stations in operational use are fit for purpose.