New force will pay £6m a year on debt

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CONCERNS have been raised about the size of debt the new national police force will have to take on when it comes into being next April.

Tories accused the Scottish Government of failing to keep tabs on debts totalling more than £100 million, according to 2010-11 figures.

Released by Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill, the figures showed that repayments were just under £6m. Tory MSP John Lamont said: “Beginning life lumbered with debts of more than £100m is far from an ideal situation.

“The Scottish Government has had years to sort this out, but because of its negligence on this matter, Scotland’s police force will have to shell out millions every year simply servicing this deficit.

“People will look at the £6m and wonder just how much safer their streets would be if that were not the case.”

In response, a Scottish Government spokesman said: “This ‘old’ debt was incurred by local authorities on behalf of police forces.

“The new Police Service of Scotland will not lose out; the Scottish Government is providing the funds to service the debt.”

The figures do not include Dumfries and Galloway or Fife constabularies, meaning that the actual figure will be higher than stated in the 2010-11 statistics.